CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — According to Champaign Firefighters Local 1260, several gunshots were fired and hit Station 1 firehouse late Saturday night.
It was an alarming realization for the men and women of Champaign Fire Station 1.
“One of the last calls, we ran close to 5 or 6 in the morning. Someone noticed there was a hole in the window, and with further investigation, we realized it looked like a bullet had come into the station and we found other marks where a bullet had hit,” Matt Quinlan, with local 1260, said. “It definitely, after a long night of being busy, it definitely gave us some pause and taken aback.”
He said crews have experienced Central Illinois’ rise in gun violence in their own way.
“We are firsthand dealing with responding to calls. We’ve had situations where victims are dropped off at our doorstep,” he said.
They’re alarmed, and saddened by what they’re seeing, but they never thought it would impact them in this way.
“I’ve been here 16 years, and this definitely wasn’t on any manual when I got hired,” he said.
He said while no one was hurt, it could have been a lot worse.
“Our community relies on us, and we take an oath to protect them. We also, when we go home, we’re going home to our families, and that’s one thing you know we work hard and we go the extra mile for people in the community. For some, we will never meet, we don’t know their name, but we give all of our effort to, but at the end of our shift, we have families we go home to,” he said.
He said Champaign fire will always be there for the community, but it’s time for the violence to end.
“At the end of the day whatever happened, happened, and we’re still here. We’re going to answer all the calls, and we’re going to give the best of our abilities, and it’s not going to deter us one bit,” he said.
Quinlan said he doesn’t know how much it will cost to repair the damage, but is happy no one was hurt.
Officials stated, “We are here to serve the community, we spend a third of our lives at the firehouse. We will always be there when you need us, but we as a community have to do better. The violence needs to come to an end”
Anyone with information on this incident should call Champaign County Crime Stoppers at (217) 373-8477.