Thieves Take Rescue Tools From Volunteer Fire Department - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/29/07-Wood County

Thieves Take Rescue Tools From Volunteer Fire Department

It's a burglary that affects thousands of East Texans.  Thieves break into a volunteer fire department, stealing close to $30,000 worth of tools the firefighters use to save lives.  The Hainesville Volunteer Fire Department located in central Wood County serves more than 50,000 people.  The department is now trying to figure out what to do next.  

It's a sight the Hainesville Volunteer Firefighters say they hope to never see again.  Their tools that they worked so hard to get are gone.

"These guys are volunteering their time, they are risking their lives and time being with their families, and it's been a long hard road to get the tools to do that, and then you arrive here at the station and they are gone," said Volunteer Firefighter Cory Clanton. 

Clanton said the tools were stolen sometime Monday night.  The thieves took rescue tools like axes, hammers and saws, equipment Clanton says they purchased with grant money.

"These are special order items, very expensive and very difficult to replace, especially for a small department such as ours," said Clanton. 

It's a burglary that extends past the fire department, for often times when it comes to an emergency, Hainesville fire is the first to respond.

"It hurts us tremendously because they are on every call we are," said Wood County Sheriff Dwaine Daugherty.  "Whether it's a wreck, fire, drowning or what.  They are there to help us." 

Despite the loss, the Hainesville Fire Department says it will continue to be there for its community.  Clanton says surrounding departments have loaned them tools.

"We have a great relationship with them, so if you make the call, we are going to be there," said Clanton. 

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says it does have a person of interest.  If you would like to make a donation to the Hainesville Volunteer Fire Department, to help them replace their tools, you can do so at P.O. Box 1145, Quitman, TX 75783.

Molly Reuter, reporting.


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