Idaho Falls rallies to repay Montana firefighters for stolen equipment

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — A crew of Montana firefighters say more than $1,500 worth of life-saving equipment was stolen from their truck while they slept in Idaho Falls.

The crew was on their way home from fighting fires in California and spent the night at a Super 8 Motel. Wyatt Adler with Park County Rural Fire District 1 told that when the crew checked the truck at 11 p.m. Sunday night, all the equipment was there. When he checked again at 6:30 a.m. the next day, $1,500 worth was gone.

The Idaho Falls Police Department was notified and the story was shared on social media. It went viral. The crew received an outpouring of support from community members wanting to help.

In response, the Idaho Falls Fire Department has established a secure fund at the Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) for donations to the department. The deadline to donate is November 23.

Two local restaurants have also stepped up to the plate. Buffalo Wild Wings (Idaho Falls) and Pachanga’s Mexican Restaurant joined forces to start the secure account at ICCU.

“Although we were told that their insurance company will most likely cover the cost, we wanted to demonstrate to those firefighters that this incident is in no way a reflection of who we are as a community and that we are very supportive of first responders,” said Martie Jaramillo, general manager of Buffalo Wild Wings IF, in a press release.

Jessica Clements, Public Information Officer with the Idaho Falls Police Department, said she is aware of several crowdfunding platforms out there, but warned it can be difficult to distinguish between “legitimate and illegitimate accounts.”

To ensure that the funds are secure and end up in the hands of the intended recipient, IFFD and IFPD are encouraging community members, as well as those who have created legitimate online crowdfunding accounts, to deposit donations in the Park County Rural Fire District, Livingston, Montana Fund at any ICCU location in Idaho Falls.

“As IFFD has plans in place to deliver the funds, we are requesting that all donations be received by Saturday, November 23,” said Kerry Hammon, Public Information Officer for the Idaho Falls Fire Department.

The Idaho Falls Police Department is continuing to investigate this incident as a vehicle burglary. Idaho Falls/Bonneville County Crime Stoppers has offered a $500 cash reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible. Anyone with information is asked to please contact Crime Stoppers at (208)522-1983 or to be eligible for the reward. You are able to give information anonymously and still be eligible for the reward.

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