WALNUT CREEK -- A day after Bay Area residents learned a Contra Costa Fire station had been burglarized while crews battled the blaze on Mount Diablo, many have come together to offer support for the firefighters, even offering to replace wedding bands that were stolen.
Contra Costa Fire Station 7, at 1050 Walnut Blvd., was broken into sometime late Sunday. The thief made off with several items, including iPads, wedding bands and money, officials said.
Police said the thief also attempted to burglarize a second fire station on Rossmoor Parkway a short time later, but crews who had just returned from the Morgan Fire were in quarters and scared the would-be burglar off.
"It's intolerable," said Antioch resident Chris Coles-Morales, who dropped off Snickers bars at the Clayton fire station Wednesday. "There is a special place in hell for the person who did this ... it was so wrong."
Danville resident Judy Padis, one of the owners at Steve Padis Jewelry in San Francisco, could not agree more. She and her husband offered to replace the wedding bands stolen from the firefighters, going so far as to replicate them in hopes that it can soften the blow of losing such a sentimental item.
"I was so upset ... what low-lifes," she said Wednesday. "Here they are, out there protecting us, risking their lives for us. The least we can do is help make them a little bit whole again by giving them (a replacement)."
Burglaries at fire stations are rare, even nonexistent in recent years, according to several department spokespeople, but firefighting colleagues in departments throughout the Bay Area were angered by the burglary.
Capt. Cleo Doss with the San Jose Fire Department called the situation "shameful."
"(Firefighters) go out on calls, and it is possible that the same people who robbed them will be the person calling for help," he said. "It's kind of a slap in the face."
Contra Costa Fire Inspector Steve Aubert said administrators are looking to see how they can improve security measures at their stations following the burglary.
Overwhelmed by the public response, authorities are also working on a way to take donations for the firefighters.
Other departments, including Hayward, Richmond and San Jose, use everything from key codes to bringing in backup crews to occupy the station to keep out people looking to steal.
For now, the fire district is focused on wrapping up containment of the fire on Mount Diablo and expressing their sincere gratitude for those who have sent them thank you cards, made them sandwiches and expressed their support.
"Everyone was a little disappointed," Aubert said of the thefts. "But we keep on doing what we do. We all sign on to do the same job, and that's what we're going to keep doing."