HOQUIAM -- A rural volunteer fire station has been targeted by burglars three times in a little over a year. This time crooks crashed a car into a garage door, damaging the building so badly the station had to be shut down.
The door has since been repaired which means the fire trucks can get out and the station is back up and running -- but they’re still out more than $10,000 worth of fire gear.
“They backed their vehicle straight into the garage door,” said Chief Jodi Hartle with the Grays Harbor County Fire District 16.
A volunteer fire fighter first discovered the damage on Monday afternoon where crooks took off with turn out gear, breathing equipment and a bunch of tools.
“It’s not a joke, this is the fire department,” said Hartle. “Just give it back, please. Our community needs it, we need it, you know we just want it returned.”
When local businessman Gary Randall learned of the break-in, he felt compelled to help. He’s installing an alarm system free of charge.
“I’ll donate the alarm system and a year monitoring for the department,” said Randall.
The alarm system runs about $350. That’s an expense the fire department can’t cover on it’s own.
“They’re being robbed by the losers in this community,” said Randall. “ We’ve got to stand up to these people and the only way to do it is give our time and resources to protect what we have or we’re going to lose it.”
Neighboring fire departments are also helping out by replacing some of the stolen gear. Chief Hartle says she’s not mad but she does believes the burglars will end up paying for their crimes, one way or another.
Cops are still on the lookout for the crooks and the stolen equipment and they could really use your help. If you have any information about this case you're urged to call the Grays Harbor County sheriff’s department.