ELKINS PARK, Pa. (AP) – A just-terminated volunteer firefighter returned to his Philadelphia-area firehouse with a 9mm handgun Tuesday and held four firefighters hostage, firing one shot into a wall before surrendering an hour later, police said.
Paul Jordan threatened the men as he entered the LaMott Fire Company at about 10:30 a.m. and sounded upset as he talked to a hostage negotiator, Cheltenham Township police Chief John Norris said.
Jordan, 25, of Philadelphia, released one hostage almost immediately after police arrived at the firehouse, about 10 miles north of downtown Philadelphia, Norris said. The other hostages were released and Jordan was taken into custody at about 11:45 a.m.
No one was injured. Officials praised the hostages’ fortitude.
“They’re a great bunch of guys,” township Fire Marshal Joseph O’Neill said. “You couldn’t ask for a better bunch.”
The suspect and hostages were taken to a police station for questioning, Norris said. Charges against Jordan have not yet been filed and he was sent for a mental health evaluation, police said.
Norris said Jordan had been in a dispute with the fire department and was fired Monday night. He said he did not know the reason for the firing or for how long Jordan, who was described as “distraught,” was a firefighter.
“Volunteers firefighters – especially in our township – are very dedicated people and they take it seriously,” Norris said. “They do a tough job with no money and no pay, but they’re dedicated to it. So when you get terminated or you lose that job for some reason, it’s very traumatic for the firefighter.”
Police shut down the area surrounding the squat, white and red firehouse, which is near a park and two schools. The area teemed with heavily armored SWAT officers.
The firehouse will be returned to service once it is processed as a crime scene, Norris said.
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