Danville firefighters receiving bulletproof vests

DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - Currently, the Danville Fire Department only has one bulletproof vest, which is worn by the fire marshal, but that's about to change.

The department has purchased 57 vests for about $30,000 which are expected to arrive on December 13.

"Trying to get things started to get this on the truck is important," said Chief David Eagle.

There will now be one vest for every seat in the department's vehicles.

Eagle said the Ohio firefighter being shot in the leg on Monday night at the scene of a fire emphasized the need for vests. Given the close calls the department has had in the past, he said the vests are a welcome idea for most of the firefighters.

"We had an EMS call where we were called to check on a patient that was unresponsive and nobody had seen him for several days. So, we had to make entry into the house and he shot into the door," Eagle recalled.

Fire Marshal Richie Guill said the vest is cumbersome, but he likes having the opportunity to wear it.

"I've worn the vest for a few years now and it does give you that added sense of security," explained Guill.

For firefighters, the vests could be even more cumbersome because of all of the other gear they're already wearing, but Guill said that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Eagle said that was taken into account when deciding which vests to purchase.

"They make the vests now, they're zipped in the front," Guill said, motioning to the zipper on the front of his vest. "You can open them up, be able to get some cool air in them, and be able to cool off."

The vests are expected to be put into service at the beginning of 2017.