KALAMA, Wash. – The minds of firefighters from Cowlitz County District 5 were racing last Thursday. And not just for the Archer Mountain Fire they were battling.
Chief Vic Leatzow said sometime early Thursday morning burglars broke into the firehouse on Todd Road, just outside of Kalama, while crews were battling the Archer Mountain Fire.
“There’s disappointment, frustration, anger, anxiety,” said Leatzow. “It’s extremely disheartening and painful to stomach."
He says thieves took about $100,000 worth of items, including the department’s brand new Ford F-350.
“It’s really the primary response vehicle the volunteers use of this station,” Leatzow said.
Fortunately, the truck was found a week ago in Gresham, at the 2800 block of Southeast Rosefinch Place.
Firefighter Jake Sorensen had his Jeep Wrangler taken. It was parked inside a maintenance garage. The Jeep was finally recovered in the Portland area Tuesday afternoon.
The sheriff's office says they've identified a person of interest but would not release any information about the person.
Another firefighter, Aaron Gunter, said his apartment inside the fire station was ransacked. His losses total about $8,000.
“Basically, my TV was stolen, DVD player, laptop, watch, and all my hunting gear,” he said.
But at the end of the day, these are firefighters. They can’t take a break from wildfire season and they won’t.
“What’s done is done. We’re not going to change it,” Chief Leatzow said.
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