Generator stolen while firefighters on call
Thieves in the night
WESTCHESTER STATION - Members of the West-chester Fire Department were left feeling powerless Sunday night when thieves made off with their industrial-sized generator.
When the brigade was called out to a house fire around 10 p.m. the bay doors at the fire hall were left open and unattended for about five minutes when someone drove in, tossed the Wallenstein generator into a vehicle and sped away.
"It kind of makes you sick to your stomach," said fire Chief Charles Moore.
"We're all volunteers, trying to help out our community and somebody goes and does this?"
In the wake of post-tropical storm Noel the rural fire hall was converted into a community comfort centre powered by the generator, offering drinking water, food and warmth to more than 200 residents.
The generator, valued at about $5,000, is owned by the Emergency Measures Organization.
John Fredericks, fire protection services co-ordinator for Cumberland County, said this is the third time thieves have targeted generators at fire departments, with brigades in Leicester and Tidnish also at a loss.
"It just shocks me. I don't know how anybody could do it," said Fredericks.
"It's a great loss to the community because they'd lost the only place they had to gather if the power went out."
Moore suspects more than one person was involved in the theft because of the large size of the generator and believes either a pickup or van was used to transport it.
The Oxford RCMP loaned their generator to the department so the comfort station could continue their efforts.
By Monday night more than 100 people had received assistance at the hall.
Several brigades in neighboring communities have offered to lend generators but Moore wants theirs returned.
"If someone would leave it somewhere and call and just tell us where it is we'll go pick it up. No questions asked," said the chief.
Anyone with information can call Moore at 548-2483 or 548-2306 or Crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.