Firefighter in critical condition after gun goes off during blaze, hitting him

The 35-year-old Cornell firefighter is hospitalized in critical condition
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Fire, firefighters

A fire caused a loaded gun to go off, critically injuring a firefighter in western Wisconsin, authorities said Tuesday night. 

Justin Fredrickson, 35, is in a life-threatening condition at the Eau Claire Mayo Hospital, according to a statement from the Cornell Area Fire Department. 

The 16-year veteran was responding to a structure fire in Willard Township on Friday.

"As he was operating on a hose line outside of the structure, a loaded firearm inside the structure discharged. The bullet traveled through an exterior wall, striking Fredrickson in the abdomen. The loaded firearm discharged due to heat conditions caused by the fire, not by the intentional actions of a person," Cornell Area Fire Department Chief Dennis Klass said in a statement. 

According to online trade publications, fires can cause a gun to "cook off," giving the bullet enough momentum to shoot. 

Frederickson has undergone two surgeries and is waiting for a third, according to the statement.  

"He is in the hospital doing pretty good right now considering all things," his fiancée, Brianna Petska posted on Facebook Saturday. "I would especially like to thank his fellow firefighters and EMTs that helped him get through this!

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