For a second time this week, a D.C. firefighter has been the victim of car theft while on duty serving the public, but this time, it was an armed carjacking.
“It’s extremely frustrating for people that are trying to help other people to have this happen to them,” D.C. Fire Chief John Donnelly said.
The firefighter walked out of Engine Company 8 in the 1500 block of C Street SE just after 11 p.m. Wednesday and started to get into his car parked nearby, according to the police report.
Two young males, possibly teenagers, both armed with handguns approached him, demanded his keys and cellphone, then drove away in his Volkswagen Passat.
“I think the police chief said it the other day,” Donnelly said. “I’m sick and tired of this, and I agree with him, but our people, we’re still going to be serving, but is very disappointing.”
The carjacking happened less than 48 hours after another D.C. firefighter had his car stolen. It was parked in front Engine 21 on Lanier Place NW in Adams Morgan. After hours of responding to emergency calls, the firefighter returned to the station Tuesday morning to find his Chevy Cruze was gone.
“But it takes a unit off the street, or in some cases several units, and we’re unable to respond to calls and provide the service that we’re there to do while we handle the incidents we’re involved in, the crime that our members have been a part of, unfortunately,” said Dabney Hudson of DC Firefighters Association Local 36.
D.C. police statistics show carjackings are up 25%. Carjacking arrests also are up.
There’s a big increase in the number of those under 18 being arrested. From Jan. 1 through July 20 of last year, 13 adults and 15 juveniles were arrested for carjacking. During that same period this year, the number adults arrested increased by five to 18 but the number of juveniles increased to 55.
The street where the firefighter was carjacked Wednesday is lined with private homes, many with security cameras. Police hope anyone with video will contact them.