HOUSTON - Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena spoke with FOX 26 to address what he's calling an unsettling trend, an increase in attacks and assault on first responders.
"It’s simply unacceptable," says Chief Pena.
Pena spoke about the unsettling trend fire chiefs are seeing locally and nationally; first responders, firefighters, and paramedics are being assaulted while on the scene of an accident.
"It's definitely a hazard, it’s a disturbing trend," said Pena.
The chief tweeted out this week about an incident that took place on Sunday. We’re told a crew member was physically attacked while he was working a motor vehicle accident.
We’ve learned that bystanders at the scene started to verbally assault and attack one of the parties involved in the vehicle accident. From there, the chief says, it escalated into a physical attack on one of their firefighters.
Another incident in late August had fire crews ducking for cover after shots were fired, responding to an apartment fire off of Dunlap Street. On August 9, officials arrested Kingsley Tian after investigators say he pulled a gun on paramedics in West Houston while they were in an ambulance stopped at a red light.
"This trend is unsettling to me, especially considering the fact that firefighters are not trained or equipped to mitigate these types of violent individuals," says Pena.
The chief says it’s a concern for him and other fire chiefs around the nation.
"We have provided them with some resources when we know we are responding to a violent situation, with ballistic vests and helmets," said Pena. "We are going to participate and collaborate with the police department to bring those that do bring harm to our firefighters to court and to account, and the criminal justice system needs to do their part as well and hold these people accountable."
Kingsley Tian is expected back in court on October 19. He's been charged with aggravated assault on a public servant.