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N.J. Volunteer Firefighter Nearly Left Blind After Bottle Is Hurled At Fire Truck

GARFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Police on Monday were searching for the assailant who almost cost a New Jersey firefighter her life.

As CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez reported, someone threw a bottle through one of the windows of the fire truck while it raced to an emergency this past Friday night. Sanchez talked to the victim – Garfield, N.J. volunteer firefighter Victoria Kovacs, 22.

"It just was like a big bang, and then there was glass everywhere," she said.

Three nights after the attack, Kovacs has been forced to wear sunglasses around the clock – dulling the pain after the frightening attack nearly blinded her.

"I was sitting over here in the second seat, right across diagonal from this second seat, and we went through the intersection at Monroe near Commerce Street when something hit the window and it shattered," Kovacs said. "I didn't know what to think. I didn't know if we had hit something, if somebody was throwing something at us, if somebody had shot the window."

At the time of the attack, Kovacs with her fire company as they responded to a report of smoke at a local Wal-Mart. While en route, someone hurled a bottle at the fire truck.

A group of suspects was huddled on the corner of Palisades Avenue and Monroe Street in Garfield.

One person with a glass bottle had to have used a great deal of force to whip it clear across one traffic lane and through the fire truck window.

Tiny pieces of tempered glass flew into Kovacs' face, cutting up both her corneas.

"It hurt to blink," she said. "It hurt to close my eyes."

Police were going door-to-door in the neighborhood, looking for anyone who might have witnessed the attack or knows who was involved.

"Throwing the bottle only slowed the response," said Garfield police Capt. Darren Sucorowski. "I mean, if it was an actual fire, it could have you know, it could have jeopardized someone else's life."

Kovacs reminded anyone who would think of committing such an attack of the reason firefighters are out there.

"Some things shouldn't be taken as lightly as you do I, and you know, if somebody got hurt because of something you thought was funny -- and we're out here trying to help you, so you shouldn't be trying to hurt us," Kovacs said.

Police said the attack was no laughing matter. The suspects face aggravated assault and criminal mischief charges.

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