Thieves snatch vital firefighting gear

The Duncan Fire Hall’s loss is a loss for its entire service area.

The Duncan Fire Hall’s loss is a loss for its entire service area.

Sometime between Friday night and Saturday afternoon the department’s water tender was broken into and items crucial to the volunteer organization’s work were stolen — some of it pried right off the body of the vehicle.

The crew noticed the missing gear Saturday when they were called out to a bush fire.

The tender’s radio, emergency lighting, lifejackets, siren and controller, as well as a backup camera were among the $10,000 worth of items taken as it was parked behind a locked gate beside the hall, not inside, due to seismic upgrading.

“The tender was out of service for a couple of days. It’s back in service now but with reduced emergency equipment,” said deputy fire chief Art Sanderson.

It will be unable to cut through traffic without light and sirens, and in a fire, he said, every minute counts.

“If we’re going to a call, we will be going slower,” Sanderson said.

The gear wasn’t replaced as of Monday.

“We still have to go to the insurance company to get all of that taken care of,” he said.

Sanderson expected the truck would be short on equipment for about a week or so, possibly longer.

“It is very disappointing,” he said.

Those with information about this or any other crime are encouraged to contact the fire hall at 250-746-5211, the North Cowichan/ Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).