BERKELEY -- A dispatching radio on the belt of a Berkeley firefighter saved him from serious injury when he was shot during an emergency response early Monday morning, police said.

The shot was fired about 1:40 a.m. as crews were waiting for police to help them get inside a locked home in the 1200 block of Dwight Way after nobody answered the door.

"In this situation, you don't know what's going to be on the other side, so they called for the police," said Berkeley Fire Department spokesman Avery Webb. "Police were on their way when he was shot."

Webb said the call came into the Fire Department through a medic alert company, rather than directly from a person inside the home.

It appears the shot was fired by an 88-year-old man who lived at the home, said Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Coats. The man, who was not identified, was taken into custody and underwent a medical exam later Monday morning, Coats said.

"We are still trying to find out what led up to or what may have caused him to fire the shots," Coats said. "We are talking to witnesses and everybody inside the home."

The bullet struck the radio, which resembles a pager, on the firefighter's belt. The firefighter suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, police said.

"All of us breathed a sigh of relief," Webb said. "It could have been a tragedy. This is not an everyday occurrence for us, thank heavens."


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A woman was also inside the home at the time but was not injured, Coats said.