MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A Milwaukee firefighter was hurt early Saturday, September 28th after getting into a struggle with a suspect who entered the living quarters of the Engine 16 fire station. On Monday, September 30th, that firefighter talked with the media about what he believes saved his life.
The suspect entered the fire station around 2:15 a.m. Saturday. A firefighter heard noises and discovered the suspect in the fire house. Officials say a struggle ensued and during that time Captain Dan Nikolaus sustained a minor injury.
Captain Nikolaus says he is thankful he wasn't alone!
"It`s running through my head constantly every day. I had a couple of sleepless nights the last two nights," Captain Nikolaus said.
“To be able to respond out of a dead sleep at a moment’s notice while you’re engaged in a different activity — to shut that off and to immediately attend to whatever emergency is thrown your way,” said Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski of the Milwaukee Fire Department. “That response was remarkable. It was immediate.”
"I saw a gentleman with his back to me by the window, messing with the window. Finally, I got the sleep out of my eyes and figured `you`re not supposed to be here.` So, I grabbed a hold of him and we started to scuffle, wrestled around in the office a little bit," Captain Nikolaus said.
Other members of the fire station heard the struggle and came to assist in holding the suspect until police arrived.
Captain Nikolaus was stabbed twice in the back, but was able to help hold down the suspect until police arrived.
"You think you`re secure at night and then all of a sudden this happens," Captain Nikolaus said.
Captain Nikolaus was taken to the hospital while Milwaukee police investigated the motive and method. The breach has fire officials reevaluating their own security.
“It’s unusual for someone to gain entry into a closed and locked facility at 2 a.m.,” said Lipski. ”We’re taking some additional measures — reinstating and reinvigorating primary security measures, verifying doors are locked.”
As Captain Nikolaus gets back to work, he says he is thinking of what could've been and the reason why he's a firefighter.
"We still like helping people, even if sometimes people don`t want to be helped or they want to be attacking us," Captain Nikolaus said.
Captain Nikolaus is also a part-time State Fair police officer. He says his law enforcement training there was critical on Saturday morning.