By Emily Fitzgerald / [email protected]
When a member of Grays Harbor Fire District 1 arrived to work at Station 2, located at 1880 South Bank Road in Oakville, for work just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, he was greeted by a scene of chaos. Equipment was randomly moved between the three apparatuses, gear was scattered, knobs and switches were broken, a headset was ripped from the wall and left on the ground.
“It’s just the weirdest thing,” Deputy Chief Carlton Rhodes told The Chronicle. “It’s just weird.”
Ultimately, the fire district learned that various pieces of valuable portable equipment had been stolen, including defibrillators, a hydraulic rescue tool “jaws of life”, chain saws and radios.
The total value of the stolen equipment is estimated to be between $80,000 and $100,000, according to Rhodes. The most expensive equipment stolen was the jaws of life, which cost $45,000 to $50,000 to replace, Rhodes said.
“You just don’t expect this to happen to a firefighter. You are only hurting the citizens,” he said of the burglary.
Firefighters quickly restored two of the station’s three rigs Tuesday morning, Rhodes said.
The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office was immediately notified of the break-in and is investigating the theft, according to Rhodes.
“We really hope that someone saw that area last night and will come forward and let us or the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Department know so we can solve this robbery,” the fire district said in a Facebook post Tuesday.
Anyone with information that could assist investigators is encouraged to contact the Grays Harbor County Dispatch Center at 360-533-8765.
The Oakville fire station wasn’t the only local emergency response station to lose valuable equipment in a theft this month. The Lewis County Search and Rescue Council, a volunteer nonprofit that assists the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office in search and rescue operations, broke down its store around midnight on September 22.
A trailer containing $7,000 worth of equipment, including several radios, a Honda generator, a portable yellow suitcase repeater unit, several antennas, a laptop and a printer, was stolen.
“Lewis County Search and Rescue is a volunteer, non-profit organization, which means this equipment is not easily replaced. All of these have been purchased through Fundraising or have been donated to units and are essential for communications for search and rescue missions in our county,” the organization said in a Facebook post on September 22.
Anyone with information on that theft, or anyone who saw the stolen trailer or equipment with the tag “Lewis County Search and Rescue (SAR)” or “Lewis County Sheriff’s Department,” is encouraged to contact the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at 360-740-1105 or email [email protected]