Theft from Fire Department: 'That hurts, that hurts us all'

GARDINER, Ore. -- Volunteer firefighters in Gardiner took a blow not only to their pockets, but to their spirits, when donation money was stolen just days after Christmas.

Nick Brooker, the Assistant Fire Chief, says the theives took all the cash the crew had on hand. "Everything we've worked hard to raise money for, doing stuff here for the guys in the department and getting stuff they need to do their job and protect people here in this town and anywhere else in the outskirts, is gone," Brooker said.

Volunteer firefighters arrived to find a broken window and almost $500 missing from a cash box. "It wasn't a lot of money in today's standards, but it was a lot to us," said Brooker.

As a volunteer only fire department, figherfighters raise money for their supplies and gear through communty events, including a monthly breakfast and a fireworks show. "We take a lot of free time, time that we could be spending with our family, and do these events," Brooker said.

In such a small community like Gardiner, the broken trust is upsetting, according to Fire Cheif John Swann. "That hurts, that hurts us all because we don't know who took it, so you're watching over your back and we don't like doing that," he said.

But they are getting support from the community, and have received donations from local businesses. "It's really good to know that people do still care," Brooker said.

Volunteers say they're already working on a couple of different fundraisers so they can keep some of those events going.