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Cambridge fire captain accidentally shoots self at station

A Cambridge fire captain was hospitalized this week and is now on sick leave after he accidentally shot himself in a fire station, officials said.

The captain, whose name was not released, was in a stairwell of the East Cambridge fire station at 175 Cambridge St. on an administrative task Tuesday when he was removing a personal firearm and holster from his jacket pocket in an attempt to attach it to his belt, according to Assistant Chief Gerard E. Mahoney. The gun, which he was licensed to carry, accidentally fired, hitting the captain in his hip area, Mahoney said.

The incident is under investigation by the Cambridge police and the Cambridge Personnel Department, he said.

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“He should not have had it in the firehouse,” Mahoney said, adding that the incident was an accident.

The captain, who has been on the force for close to 30 years, has not been disciplined for the incident, according to the assistant chief. He is using sick days for recovery, and was hospitalized for 48 hours earlier this week, but did not require surgery, Mahoney said.

“We were startled to say the least when this occurred,” he said. “Thankfully, most importantly, his injuries are not life threatening.”

No one else was around the captain when the gun went off.

“This is a guy who is a conscientious, dedicated employee,” Mahoney added. “It really was a freak accident.”

Mahoney said the Fire Department is planning to reinforce a city employee manual that addresses the issue of guns in the workplace.

An off-duty Cambridge firefighter accidentally shot himself in the hand a few years ago, according to Mahoney. That incident was not on city property.


Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com . Follow her on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.