If the projectile had hit anywhere else on his face, doctors say volunteer fire chief Gary Cheesman would have had just a scratch.
The situation also would’ve been different had Cheesman been wearing his helmet that included eye protection.
But the projectile hit him in the eye, and he wasn’t wearing eye protection, so Cheesman faced the prospect of losing the eye.
Cheesman was among a team of firefighters from the West Point, IN, company responding to a fire in a vacant house.
Inside the house were hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Bullets exploded as the fire burned, but it appeared none were traveling outside the house.
As the fire was brought under control, Cheesman was standing outside the back of the house when a primer cap from a .223 caliber bullet entered the corner of his eye by his nose and lodged behind his eyeball.
Cheesman says he wasn’t wearing his helmet because he was running the pumper truck and was wearing a radio on his head.
Surgery saved the eye. Cheesman says his vision is getting better, but it’s still blurry. Doctors hope the vision will clear within four to eight weeks.
Cheesman hopes his story served as a reminder to people who work in potentially dangerous situations to always wear their eye protection.