ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - St. Paul Firefighters at Station 14 were surprised by a loud bang that turned out to be a vehicle crashing into a statue outside the station Tuesday night.
According to a post from Station 14, the firefighters had just finished dinner when they heard the crash. They went outside to find the car in the station and the driver running down the street.
The St. Paul Police Department is investigating the car crash that occured at the doorstep of the station. Police say a motorist crashed a Honda Civic into the brick building, running over a granite memorial to a fallen colleague in the process.
This car crashed into a memorial to a fallen firefighter in St. Paul Tuesday. (St. Paul Fire Department)
“He hit our memorial to our fallen brother Shane Clifton,” said a post from the station on Facebook.
Clifton died from a heart attack four years ago after working out at the firehouse. Clifton, a Navy veteran, was 38 when he died. He had two young daughters.
Fortunately, the memorial with the words "Forever Our Brother" etched into it was not damaged. Clifton's father was releived to know the memorial, the only place outside his Fort Snelling grave site where they could remember him, wasn't impacted by the crash.
This firefighter memorial was damaged by a car that crashed into it Tuesday night. (St. Paul Fire Department)
"It's always a reminder of what these guys sacrifice," said Mick Higgins, Clifton's dad. "It's such a tension-filled job. You're on call there for 24 hours straight."
They said the stone did not sustain any damage and they were able to clean up the crash and replace his headstone to where it belonged. Still, Higgins said it hurts.
After a crash dislodged it earlier in the night, St. Paul Fire crews worked to fix this memorial headstone. (St. Paul Fire Department / FOX 9)
"It's a slam. It's an affront to the memorial, but I don't think it was intentionally vandalized like when someone goes to the cemetery and starts knocking over headstones," Higgins added.
As for the crash, the driver took off from the scene on foot and police are still looking for them. Investigators told FOX 9 he was driving fast and left behind a wallet, a phone and an empty bottle of Jameson Whiskey in the car.