Thieves break into Oregon fire station, steal equipment

Thousands of dollars worth of investigative equipment was recently stolen from a local fire department.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 7:22 AM PDT
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LEBANON, Ore (KPTV) - An Oregon fire department is without some crucial equipment after someone broke into one of their facilities.

The thieves got away with tools crews use for fire investigation, which is a step up from what the district has dealt with in the past as they say people often steal the free life jackets they offer during summertime.

Fire Marshall Ken Foster said the thieves stole $5,000 worth of equipment.

“It’s frustrating to say the least,” Foster said. “We’re using taxpayer money and the community entrusts us with this. It’s what we use to do our job, and now it’s gone. We’re emergency services and we’re there to help the community in someone’s worst time. It’s absolutely frustrating to know someone would stoop to that level.”

Foster said he learned of the theft Monday afternoon after getting a call from a volunteer who noticed the trailer had been broken into and gear, they’d gathered over years, was missing.

“The stuff that we need to do our job as fire investigators, and so now we don’t have those tools,” Foster explained. “It makes our job harder.”

At Station 33 where the trailer was parked, a fence that has been cut can be seen where Foster believes the thieves broke in.

He said the trailer was only housed at Station 33 temporarily, because they’re in the middle of a re-build. He said that the thieves filled buckets to steal as much as they could carry. He believes it could take upwards of a month to replace, and in turn, it will slow down investigations that need to get done.

“We serve 126 square miles in a fire district. So, anybody that needs this kind of equipment is affected. We only have so much money to fund these programs and we’re doing it for the safety of others. It seems like a few people want to walk all over that. It’s challenging for me. It’s challenging for the department. It’s challenging for the community.”

Foster hopes anyone with information about the whereabouts of the equipment, or any possible suspects, will call the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.