Fatal firefighter call illustrates danger first responders face

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- One firefighter was killed and another is recovering in the hospital after being shot Friday night in Maryland during a routine call to check on a person's well-being.

Firefighters in Central Virginia put their lives on the line every day. From fighting house fires, to battling brush fires and even rescuing cats from trees, those are the types of calls that typically come to mind.

However, a majority of what these brave men and women do is performing welfare checks.

Capt. Daniel Rosenbaum

Capt. Daniel Rosenbaum

"When we go on a call, we're constantly evaluating the situation," Capt. Daniel Rosenbaum with Henrico County Division of Fire said. "If there's ever any question about the safety, then we will call for the assistance of the police department."

Two Maryland firefighters who were responding to a call for help at a home when someone inside opened fire.

Rosenbaum said he had a scary experience on a similar call.

"I was confronted by the citizen and he was just as surprised as I was that I was in the house. He was having a medical situation and did not hear us knocking on the door,” Rosenbaum said.

While Rosenbaum said that situation ended peacefully, he said said 75-percent of the calls firefighters respond to are for emergency medical calls, which include welfare checks. Only two percent of calls are for actual fires.

Firetrucks in Henrico County

Firetrucks in Henrico County

"That is actually the most dangerous part of our job is... those fire calls. And it's the highest demand for service because it requires so many personnel and apparatus to respond to it,” Rosenbaum said.

Rosenbaum said with the deadly shooting in Maryland, his department will review safety protocols.

"It was a tragic, tragic incident anytime we lose a firefighter in the line of duty,” Rosenbaum said.