Thieves steal firefighters’ vehicles as they battle Eagle Creek Fire
KALAMA, Wash. – Cowlitz County firefighters are looking for two vehicles that were stolen from a fire station in Kalama, Wash. overnight Wednesday while the crews were fighting a wildfire burning nearly 33,400 acres in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.
Volunteers with Cowlitz County Fire District 5 are among the crew members who came from across the Pacific Northwest to protect homes and historic sites threatened by the Eagle Creek Fire. The fire is currently considered about 5 percent contained.
Jake Sorensen was one of the volunteers who worked an 18-hour day Wednesday fighting on the firelines. He was heading back out this morning when he learned someone broke into their shop facility in Kalama.
They stole his Jeep, a fire pickup, a computer, and some equipment.
"We're just frustrated and and angry, and just really upset that this happened. It was a blow. A really big blow to our morale," said Sorensen.
They described the stolen vehicles as:
- The Jeep is black, has no top, and Washington license plates BGP9355.
- The pickup is white 2016 Ford, F-350, crew cab with exempt plates B4406C.
If you have any helpful information, contact the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies arrested a man in Troutdale on Wednesday night who is accused of taking gear from firefighters in an attempt to break into evacuated homes. State police officials reassured evacuees that law enforcement is working to make sure their property is safe.
Oregon State Police said they suspect a 15-year-old caused the fire by throwing fireworks from a hiking trail. The ensuing wildfire quickly grew, forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes and causing another fire across the Columbia River in Skamania County.