Shots fired at Kilgore firefighters, Chief calls Marshal a 'hero'
POSTED: Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 9:01pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 9:09am
Kilgore, Texas (KETK) — What started off as a routine call for Kilgore firefighters early Saturday morning, quickly escalated into a shootout. Assistant Fire Chief Michael Simmons says around 1 a.m. firefighters were called to a vacant house fire in the 1500 block of Peach Street.
"Upon arrival, the house was about 50 percent involved..flames shooting out of the roof and in the attic. It was a rent house and it was vacant at the time..that's one of the things that makes it suspicious..and one of the doors appeared to be kicked open upon arrival..so at this time we do feel like it is a suspicious fire."
Just when fire crews thought they had the situation under control, they say 39-year-old Kenny Davlin, who appeared to be intoxicated approached them and began firing shots with an AR-15 rifle. Fire marshal Brandon Bigos fired back, striking Davlin in the shoulder.
Simmons says Davlin was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
"It was very apparent that his intent was to harm somebody and we just thank our fire marshal for doing what he did."
No firefighters were injured as they were able to take cover behind their fire trucks. Bigos is on administrative leave while the Texas Rangers and the state Fire Marshal's Office finish the investigation.
Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows says if Bigos wasn't there, the situation could have turned out much worse.
"I am very proud of my fire marshal, an event that took place could have meant that we were responding to an event with fatality firefighters and civilians, but due to his quick actions and calmness..he controlled the situation..and possibly saved many lives..for that I believe we have a hero in our midst."
The state Fire Marshal's Office is working with Kilgore Police and firefighters to determine if Davlin set the fire. Officials say when Davlin is released from the hospital, he will be arrested.