Burglar steals $30k from fire department
By LPR Staff
Officers and members of Chisholm Trail Fire Rescue were greeted with a grim surprise when they arrived at their Lytton Springs Station for training on Tuesday.
Around 6:45 p.m. that evening, CTFR Chief Blake Dorsett discovered that the station had been burglarized, and nearly $30,000 worth of the department”s equipment h
ad been stolen.
“I came in to get ready for a meeting and that”s when I found the stuff was gone,” a shocked Dorsett said on Wednesday morning. “It looks like someone came in through a side door sometime between 8 p.m. on Monday and around 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Dorsett said he had contacted the Caldwell County Sheriff”s Department, who sent a deputy to investigate the scene and collect fingerprint evidence.
“Our building is insured, and we”re hoping that the insurance will cover the theft,” Dorsett said. “Still, making a claim is going to make our premiums go up, and that”s going to just kill us for the next few years.”
The bulk of the department”s funds come from community donations and fundraisers held by department members. Like all Caldwell County volunteer fire departments, CTFR receives a stipend from Caldwell County, but yearly income cannot come close to covering the cost of replacing the stolen equipment, Dorsett said.
Among the things taken were a set of “jaws of life” rescue tools and several accessories needed to use them, a Kubota generator and two-tiered toolbox full of other tools.
Despite the theft of the set of rescue tools, Dorsett offered assurances that CTFR would still be able to provide service to their nearly 177-square-mile coverage area in northern Caldwell County.
Still, Dorsett expressed concern.
“I think that people take for granted that if they have a fire or an accident, we”re just going to show up,” he said. “I don”t know if people remember that it”s their donations that allows us to be able to do that. This isn”t going to hurt our service, but it will cripple us financially.”
Although he is hopeful that insurance will cover replacing the equipment, he joked that the department could have bought a fire engine for what they will have to spend on tools.
“We have no way of knowing if this was someone we had a problem with in the past, or someone who just recognized what they had,” said former CTFR chief Rick Beaman. “Actually, we”re all still in kind of shock that it happened at all, and we hope [the sheriff”s department] can find the [person or people] who did this.
Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Caldwell County Sheriff”s Department at (512) 398-6777.