E. Texas firefighter feels overwhelmed by community support - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

E. Texas firefighter feels overwhelmed by community support

Gene Lattis' Truck (Source: KLTV Staff) Gene Lattis' Truck (Source: KLTV Staff)
ATHENS, TX (KLTV) - The Athens firefighter whose truck was stolen while he was busy helping with the Athens fertilizer storage fire says the whole experience has been overwhelming. He says it feels amazing to receive so much support from the community he's helped protect for more than 19 years. Police recovered Gene Lattis’ truck on Sunday, but his trailer, commercial lawn mower, and tools were all gone.

“There was nothing in my truck. My tool box is missing with all my tools, hand tools and that sort of thing. The bed was completely emptied. What I had in the back is gone. The trailer wasn't with it and my commercial mower wasn't with it,” he said.

Lattis said he's glad his truck is back, but he can't believe the damage.

“[There are] scratches, dents... The tailgate was beat in. My toolbox wasn't taken off with any tools. They probably used like a pry bar or something. The bed of the truck was damaged. The tool box was totally destroyed and none of that has been recovered,” said Lattis.

Today, the Athens Police Department combed Gene's vehicle for evidence.

“I went and looked at it and talked to the detectives about some things to help them further in the investigation. There were some things that were wrong with it and some evidence that was in the truck that was not mine,” he said.

Lattis said police told him that, so far, there are no suspects. He said considering what could have happened at the fire, he's not worried about the loss.

“Right now, it's been recovered and that's awesome news. I appreciate everybody that's been, I mean... it's just so overwhelming that the people in this community and other places and outside of this community are willing to help. I mean, it's awesome,” said Lattis.

The commercial mower and tools that were stolen were for Lattis' personal lawn maintenance business. If you would like to help, his friends and colleagues have set up a bank account in his name at all Citizens State Bank locations. Donations will also be accepted at the central fire station in Athens.

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