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Lifesaving equipment stolen from Acme fire station

ACME, Wash. — Whatcom County Fire District 16‘s Station 86 in Acme was found to have been burglarized Saturday, January 29th.

According to WCFD16 Fire Chief Hank Maleng, they had been dispatched respond a vehicle crash when the theft was discovered. Personnel arrived at the station to discover a locked door open and several important lifesaving devices missing. Possibly worse was that the thieves had opened every compartment on every rig in the station, rummaged around and left the compartment doors open. This meant those apparatuses would not be available for service until inventories could be performed and all items returned to their specific locations.

Video taken shortly after WCFD16 Station 86 was discovered to have been burglarized (January 29, 2022). Video courtesy of WCFD16

“We were fortunate not have been needed at a more serious incident,” Maleng told Whatcom News. He estimated the replacement cost of the missing equipment to be over $20,000. The district has insurance to cover such loses but it will take some time to apply for and receive a payment and there is a chance some of the items will not be readily available given current supply chain challenges.

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There are a few backup items on hand and some items have been temporarily loaned by other districts.

The following items were among those taken.

  • 5 power saws
  • 2 generators
  • a “jaws of life” tool
  • a large floodlight

This was the second burglary at a WCFD16 fire station after the Van Zandt station was broken into 2 and a half years ago, but they have never had a problem in the 50 years before at this station according to Maleng.

“I wouldn’t be so mad about this had it been my personal equipment. But the items taken were the peoples’ equipment, used to save people’s lives and property and paid for by the people,” Maleng said. “That’s infuriating.”


  1. fran schwab January 30, 2022

    I’d be checking out bug out kits and camps..just a thought. Useful stuff for peppers with few scrupples

  2. Martha Ratzke January 30, 2022

    Are donations of replacement items being accepted while waiting for insurance payment and orders to arrive?

  3. Debra A Lee January 31, 2022

    Seems like more and more of this happening I have lived in the same home for over 17 years never have had one thing taken Until this year Gas stolen three full tanks and a freezer full of fresh beef gone. What is this world coming to?

  4. Scott Henry January 31, 2022

    The jaws of life that’s not what we the people need thieves to have as that would make cutting catalytic converters even easier to steal this world is so bad anymore and the future don’t look any better ether

  5. Edgar Smith January 31, 2022

    While deployed in Saudi Arabia during
    Operations Desert Shield/Storm (we foreign military service members were invited by the Saudis to go into town (Dhahran) and observe the weekly public flogging. For a person with “sticky fingers” that finds it difficult to do the right thing for the right reason, they would learn very quickly to, at least, do the thing for the wrong reason after watching someone lose a hand for theft.
    Barbaric? Perhaps. Effective deterrent of poor behaviour? Reading articles like this on such a frequent basis (here, in the U.S.), some might say it is an indication that it just might be. Would removing someone’s dominant hand in a surgical environment (ie: in a hospital) be considered elective surgery if it was sought by the government’s request for public benefit.
    Most people are good but we all suffer the consequences of the poor behavior of a small few. After a few occurrences, it wouldn’t matter whether it was elected or not.

  6. Jd January 31, 2022

    I concur. Although I don’t know you, but I know you have a super cool brother, I say we introduce that tactic of theft deterrent here for felony thefts. Honestly though, you do have a cool brother.

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