Hardin County Fire Chief Melvin Martin reports that when firefighters went to a local fire station for a tanker truck to respond to an active structure fire Tuesday, they discovered someone had broken into the fire house and stolen the tanker’s batteries and other firefighting tools.
“I’m upset, of course, to ever have anything stolen, but considering they disabled a fire truck and stole equipment that could have been vitally needed to save someone’s life or property – I just can’t describe all that I’m thinking right now,” Martin said.
The firefighters were responding to a fire at the home of a fellow firefighter. They extinguished the fire without the missing tanker or tools. There was only minor damage to the home and no injuries.
“Thankfully we didn’t end up needing the tanker, but that’s just because we were lucky and blessed. This could have been so, so much worse, all because someone decided stealing something to make a few bucks was worth more than possibly costing someone’s life,” Martin said.
Taken were the tanker’s two large batteries, a large industrial-capacity rotary saw, a chain saw and a portable radio. Martin estimated the total value of all of the stolen items at $2,000-$2,500.
He said a man-sized hole was cut through the District 15 station at Hookers Bend sometime between Sunday around lunch, the last time anyone was the firehouse, and 2:30 p.m. today when they arrived to respond to the structure fire. The cost of repairing the damage to the station will add to the full amount of HCFD’s loss, of which Martin did not have an immediate estimate.
Martin said the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the station on the burglary call, and the incident is under investigation.
“Think about how you would feel if you called for help during a fire or other emergency, and there couldn’t be an effective response because someone did this. Hopefully, that will motivate someone to call 911 and report the information to a deputy, and help us catch whoever did this,” the chief said.