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Firefighters estimate $100,000 in personal, work gear stolen from Kalama station

Posted September 8

— As fires in the Columbia River Gorge continue to burn, firefighters are putting in long hours. Some members of the Cowlitz County crew woke up to disturbing news.

After 18 hours fighting the Archer Mountain Fire, crews woke up Thursday morning to around $100,000 in work and personal gear, including two vehicles, stolen from the fire station.

"You feel violated. You're angry, frustrated. You're anxious," said Chief Victor Leatzow.

The fire station was broken into overnight. No forced entry and no damage to door locks.

"Couldn't believe it. Kind of a little sick to my stomach," said Aaron Gunter.

Gunter's loss is personal. He lives at the fire station, and somehow the thieves unlocked his door and stole his bike, a crossbow and hunting gear.

Firefighter's Jake Sorensen's Jeep was driven right out of the garage, and the thieves tried to use it to steal Marcus Pond's trailer along with the lawn care equipment he has for his second job.

"They were definitely experts," said Pond.

The fire station truck used for EMS calls was also stolen but it was found by Gresham police Thursday night.

"It takes somebody pretty horrible to come into a fire station and take something like that," Pond said.

Firefighters say their minds are on Friday when they can get back to the Gorge.

"That's houses, that's memories, that's pictures, things like that that can't be replaced," said Pond. "It's in our blood, that's where we like to be."

Deputies say they have identified a person of interest in the case.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office by using the to use the TIP411 smart phone app.

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