Thieves Steal $100,000 Worth Of Firefighting Equipment In Oregon

MARCOLA, Ore. (AP) -- The theft of about $100,000 worth of firefighting equipment over the weekend left one of the four Mohawk Valley Rural Fire District stations temporarily unable to respond to emergencies, officials said.

``We were hit hard,'' said district training officer Gregory Jack said.

Three fire and rescue vehicles at Substation No. 2 on Old Mohawk Road had been stripped of equipment, radios and supplies.

``We walked in. All the doors were open in the apparatus. They were empty,'' Jack said. ``We definitely won't be in full service with them for a while.''

The Lane County sheriff's office got a phone tip about 2 p.m. Saturday, Jack said. The caller described a man in his 30s loading a generator into a 1980s Honda Civic hatchback that was faded red with black bumpers. The caller, a local resident, attempted to follow the Honda, but could not keep up.

Jack said he discovered the extent of the theft about 7:40 p.m. after he and a volunteer arrived and found equipment stacked outside the building, apparently to be hauled away on a return trip.

``It sounds like it had been going on for over 24 hours,'' Jack said.

Thieves pried open a side door and took not only generators and tools but also highly specialized equipment heart defibrillators, oxygen kits, orange-and-white medic boxes full of bandages and the protective suits worn by firefighters.

Insurance will replace the gear, but Jack said it will take time to document the loss and re-equip the station.