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Emergency lights stolen from fire department trucks

Thieves have swiped emergency lights from Middle Tennessee fire trucks, and the bold crime has left one volunteer fire department in Rutherford County in a tough spot.

The Almaville Volunteer Fire Department can't use its truck without the flashing lights, and the department doesn't have the money to replace them.

"It's a strobe-type light just secured on with like a little pop rivet, and they went around all four sides with something like a crowbar or screwdriver and popped them off and cut the wires," said firefighter Daniel Nelms.

Four emergency lights cost about $1,200 to replace, and that is if the small department of volunteers does all of the wiring themselves.

"We might have to chip in out of our own pocket to reimburse it, or we might try to do some kind of fundraiser," Nelms said.

A light that might make thieves $100 on eBay isn't such a small crime. The truck is required by the National Fire Protection Association to have those lights operating on all sides of the vehicle to signal an emergency.

"It's actually out of service right now, because we do not have the proper lighting. It is just open wires on the other end," Nelms said.

With the department's vehicle out of commission, many folks in Almaville are worried. The fire department serves about 11,000 people living in mostly rural areas, and it's the beginning of brushfire season.

"Any kind of brush fires, grass fires - anything like that - we obviously can't go," Nelms said.

The volunteer department does not have another brushfire truck as backup, and its bigger trucks are unable to drive off-road, so until they get the money to replace the lights, they must rely on another fire crew in the county to arrive at a fire - a wait that could be 15 minutes or longer during an emergency.

Lights and a registration tag were also stolen off the fire chief's car. The department has posted information on how to help contribute to its efforts in replacing the lights.

For more information, visit: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Almaville-Volunteer-Fire-Rescue-Department/190191994346423.

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