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Cornell area firefighter returns home from hospital

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:09 PM CST
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CORNELL, Wis. (WEAU) - An emotional day in Cornell on Friday, as Firefighter Justin Fredrickson was released from an Eau Claire hospital.

“It is a brotherhood, fire departments are a brotherhood, I can’t explain it unless you’ve been here,” says Cornell Area Fire Department Chief Dennis Klass.

Klass says the community support is overwhelming.

“This was fantastic support we had for Justin today, so many area volunteer and paid fire departments showed up at the hospital, picking him up on the way to Cornell, riding with him for a while and it’s just fantastic.”

Fredrickson was hurt last month while responding to a fire in the Town of Willard in Rusk County.

A round of ammunition went off due to heat from the fire and hit Fredrickson in the stomach.

“This is one of the dangers you don’t really think of when you go out to a fire is somebody getting shot.”

Chief Klass says the incident sent shockwaves through the community.

“Hopefully this never happens again, it really shook our community up and shook our fire department up terrible.”

After three surgeries, Fredrickson got a special ride back home on Friday.

“This is the greatest day since this happened two weeks ago today that we all got to see him,” Klass says. “I’ve been in contact with him nearly everyday on the phone.”

Firefighters train for a lot of things, but Chief Klass says getting shot is not one of them.

“You worry more about someone falling through a floor or something like that, but this has shed a new light to a lot of area fire departments.”

The incident has also prompted Klass and the rest of the firefighters to ask an important question when they respond to fires.

“When we go to a fire from now on, we will be asking the homeowner if they have loaded guns and where they are in the house and hopefully they tell us the truth,”

All to make sure, firefighters who serve our communities, make it home at the end of the day.

Fredrickson is at home and recovering.

Chief Klass says other area fire departments have reached out to him as well to come up with ways to make sure something like this never happens again.

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