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Reward offered in firehouse shooting

MILLS RIVER — Someone fired 13 rounds into a Mills River fire station, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. Worse, the bullets could have injured or killed someone had firefighters been there at the time, Mills River Fire Chief Rick Livingston said.


"They were behind the station and really had no way of knowing if anybody was there," he said. "We're just thankful nobody was."
The barrage of fire on Feb. 9, a Sunday night, did a remarkable amount damage to the station on North Mills River Road.
One bullet blew out a front tire on a fire truck, and three more penetrated the truck's skin. Another round pierced the heat and air conditioning unit outside, damaging it enough that it will need to be replaced. Another sliced a telephone line. Others tore through kitchen cabinets. One went through a couch, where firefighters could have been sitting.
"There's probably $20,000 or so in damage," Livingston said. "There's a driveway leading into a home construction site. There's no gate and kids can go back there and park and party."
Firefighters think that's what might have happened, the chief said, but they really don't know. Although the sheriff's department is investigating, at the moment "we have no leads," Livingston said. The fire department has insurance, and Livingston said he expects to meet with a claims adjuster this week.
A $1,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter or shooters.
Investigators recovered two rounds believed to be 9-mm bullets. The shots could have come from a handgun but given that the shooter fired 13 rounds detectives are leaning toward a semiautomatic rifle.
"We never had anything like this happen ever," the chief said. "As far as we know we don't have any enemies."