Multiple rural, volunteer fire departments burglarized

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PONTOTOC COUNTY, Okla. (KXII0-- Pontotoc County authorities are investigating after a string of rural volunteer fire department burglaries.

"Just to volunteer our time, and energy to help others, and then to be taken advantage of, its a kick in the gut." Happyland Fire Chief Keith Burris said.

Burris says they arrived at the station for training Tuesday night to find their file cabinet ransacked, and brand new chainsaw missing.

"Now we are in fire season without a tool we desperately need, that we will have to go back through the purchasing process for." Burris said.

And they're not alone. Over the last couple days, both the Sheriff's Office and Ada Police Department received reports of similar break ins at the Union Valley Fire Department and Homer Fire Department.

Doors were kicked in, but nothing was found stolen from those volunteer departments. Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian believes all three incidents to be connected.

"I certainly believe they were probably looking for specific things," Christian said. "Cash, or something that may be in an office, or an item like that that's not easily traceable."

Unlike in Happyland, where Burris says everyone is a victim.

"You're stealing from the people of this community who voted to help support this department, for us to be able to provide an emergency response to them." Burris said.

Christian is asking anyone with information to call their department at (580) 332-4169, and is asking those near rural fire departments to help keep a watchful eye.

"If you live near a rural fire department or facility like that, help keep a close eye on it," Christian said. And if [residents] so anything unusual, be sure to call us immediately so we can respond, and hopefully catch whoever's doing this."

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