Equipment stolen from Highland Home Fire and Rescue

Published 5:05 pm Monday, January 19, 2009

Most everyone is worried about today’s economy, but stealing from a volunteer fire department is sinking to a new low.

On Sunday afternoon, several members of the Highland Home Volunteer Fire and Rescue came in just like they always do to do routine checks on the trucks and equipment. That is when they noticed their extrication equipment, or the “jaws of life”, was missing. The piece of life-saving equipment was kept inside a closed compartment on the fire truck.

“There were no signs of forced entry on the main door of the fire department building itself or on the fire truck, and the building itself had been locked,” Stephen Wilson, president of the Highland Home Volunteer Fire and Rescue, said. “But the door to the office where we have our computer and all of our financial statements and paperwork had been pried open with a crowbar.”

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Wilson said that the lock on the lock box, which contains all of the keys, was broken, but to his knowledge, no keys were missing.

Wilson added that no footprints were found, and nothing else seemed to be out of place.

“There were plenty of other things they could have taken, but they didn’t,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense why they would have chosen that particular piece of equipment. I think someone would have had to know a little bit about where it was located and what it could do in order to find it and take it.”

“I’m not accusing anyone—I want to be clear about that,” he explained. “I’m just saying that it seems that, under the circumstances, it was someone who had some firefighting knowledge.”

The volunteer fire department has checked with other departments to see if anyone had borrowed the “jaws of life,” but no one had. Wilson said he personally checked on the piece of equipment Jan. 1, and that was the last time it was seen.

“If something comes up and we need that equipment, we’ll have to call another fire department,” he said.

The department has since contacted its insurance company, which said it would replace the equipment, but the department will have to pay the $250 deductible first, money that is not easy for a volunteer fire department to come up with.

The Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and reported it as breaking and entering and theft of property.

Wilson estimates the incident may have taken place between Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17 and 18.

“If anyone noticed anything suspicious or anything out of the ordinary during the whole weekend, we’re asking you to please contact us,” Wilson said.

Anyone with any information can contact Wilson at 334-850-7760 or the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office at 335-6568.