Burglar takes valuable tools from rural Stanislaus County fire station

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CROWS LANDING, Calif. (KTXL) -- Thousands of dollars of lifesaving equipment is now missing from Mountain View Fire District Station One after a recent break-in.

“During the night we're a 100% volunteer station so we're not staffed,” Assistant Fire Chief Dan Costa said. “So there was nobody here.”

Costa said he discovered the break-in Thursday morning when he noticed their back door had been pried open.

“I've been a volunteer here for 30 years, we have never had anything like this happen,” Costa said.

Once inside the Crows Landing station, Costa says the thief made their way to the chief's office and then out to the engine bay.

“Came into the fire truck started opening the compartment doors, and I noticed the rescue tools in our compartment were gone,” he said.

Among the items taken were their Jaws of Life tools and a K12 metal saw -- equipment used in emergencies to free people pinned in their cars.

Costa said it's hard not to take the theft personally.

“There's been times when we've left on fires and the doors have stayed open and we come back and nothing is missing,” Costa told FOX40. “So, yeah, we feel violated, absolutely, because we live here. This is our community.”

While the cost of the stolen tools makes up about a quarter of the budget for the small, rural fire station, their service hasn't been impacted because they have been using spare tools and said they always have other backups if needed.

“We've had other fire stations contact us offering their equipment, their spare equipment and their assistance for mutual aid on auto extrication events,” Costa said.

Now, the fire station is going through insurance to get the tools replaced but said they'd be happy if they were just returned.

“Just bring it back and just leave it out front. That's all we ask,” Costa said. “Just bring it back.”

The fire district said it’s now looking into getting security cameras set up to protect its property.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office is investigating the break-in. Officials said to be on the lookout for the tools labeled “Property of Mountain View Fire” and asking anyone with information to call them.

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