TODAY

TODAY   |  April 11, 2013

Firefighters safe after dramatic hostage rescue

A gunman took four firefighters hostage outside Atlanta, Ga., Wednesday as they were responding to what they thought was a routine emergency. All four are safe with minor injuries and the gunman is dead after a standoff.

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>> and new details this morning on the dramatic end to a scary hostage situation that took place just outside atlanta. tamron's here with more on that. good morning.

>> good morning matt and natalie. a huge sigh of relief for four firefighters safe this morning after a tense standoff. let's get right to nbc's gabe gutierrez with the latest from georgia. gabe, good morning.

>> reporter: tamron, this morning, all the firefighters taken hostage have been treated and released from the hospital. the gunman had financial issues. but today they're investigating exactly what led to this four-hour standoff.

>> we're in a situation where we have an armed person.

>> the radio call was dramatic. five firefighters responding to what seemed to be a routine medical emergency . suddenly the rescuers were the ones who needed rescuing.

>> he is armed and we are in the room with him.

>> a gunman taking hostages and making demands.

>> these demands were to have his power turned back on. apparently going through financial problems.

>> reporter: the four others waited inside, a tense standoff while the police hostage negotiator tried to calm the situation. then, suddenly, an explosion followed by the sound of gunfire.

>> got to a point where we believe that their lives are in danger.

>> a police s.w.a.t. team using a grenade to distract the gunman stormed in, it was over in seconds. the gunman dead, all the hostages rescued with minor injuries.

>> late wednesday night, a joyous reunion back at the fire house .

>> that's something that people in public safety prepare themselves for and hope never comes.

>> reporter: one police officer was shot in the hand during the rescue, he's expected to be just fine. police say the gunman is believed to have financial issues, property records show the home was in foreclosure, though, it is unclear exactly what role if any played.