CHOCOWINITY, N.C. (WNCT) – There are very few who become firefighters, law enforcement officers or paramedics for the money or fame. Despite often gaining negative attention for actions across the country, first responders face danger every day on the job.
“You never know what’s on the other end of the 911 call,” said Shane Grier, a paramedic with Chocowinity EMS. He’s served as a first responder for 25 years. Over that time, he’s seen a lot of disturbing scenes and been placed in dangerous situations. “We had a kid shoot himself in front of EMS personnel.”
The dangers those who protect communities in the East can face was on display Thursday in Lenoir County, as deputies and members of the Kinston Public Safety swat team convened on a house in LaGrange. Inside was a veteran suffering from PTSD who had threatened to shoot anyone who came inside.
Two hours passed before the stand-off between law enforcement and the veteran end peacefully.
“He had extensive training, and we knew he had guns,” Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram said. He said the situation was very unique because, at the same time, an abandoned house next door was on fire. But due to the stand-off, fire crews couldn’t start putting out the flames.
“You have to keep an open door so you have a route to escape,” Grier said. “A call can turn bad at any moment.”
Grier said while the types of calls may differ, it is the passion for the job that all first responders share.
So far in 2016, 15 firefighters, 26 law enforcement officers, and four paramedics have been killed in the line of duty in the U.S.