Houston fire captain stabbed in eye while pulling man from a fire

From KHOU-TV video


A firefighter with the Houston Fire Department could lose one of his eyes after he was stabbed by a man he was trying to rescue on Friday. 

Capt. Kenneth Willingham was responding to a fire at a business on Highway 6 when he found a man unresponsive inside. 

A Houston Police officer forced entry with a sledgehammer and when Willingham tried to pull the man out, the man stabbed him in the eye with a pocket knife.

The man remained combative and it took firefighters around 30 minutes to get him out of the building. The firefighters were also trying to get the fire under control during this time.

Houston Fire Department Captain Kenneth Willingham


Firefighters arrived just before 2 a.m. Friday and found an air compressor enclosure had burned at Kwik Kar Lube & Tune on South State Highway 6 near Westheimer Road in west Houston. When firefighters heard a voice inside the enclosure, they used a sledgehammer to bust through the bricks. They found a man laying unresponsive in the small space. 

Captain Willingham leaned into the hole to help, but the person inside pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed the fire captain in the left eye.

Captain Willingham, a 14-year veteran of the Houston Fire Department, is in stable condition after undergoing surgery. He has a brother and sister who are both also firefighters.

”We just ask that everybody to keep their thoughts and prayers with him and his family,” adds (HFD Captain Ruy) Lozano. Friends and family say they are hoping for the best in regards to Willingham keeping his eye and his sight but they say it’s too soon to know for sure.

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