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North Whidbey fire station loses power to thieves

An emergency generator at the Cornet Fire Station on Troxell Road is missing.

The equipment disappeared sometime after the North Whidbey Fire Department's Monday evening training and before Thursday morning when an on-duty crew attempted to fire up the generator in anticipation of a storm-related power outage due to the high winds last week.

When the generator failed to power up, the crew noticed it was no longer bolted to its cement pad behind the station. The wiring, conduit and pipes were cut and a set of tire tracks led right up to the generator's former base.

"It looks like a truck was backed in," said Fire Chief Marv Koorn.

The generator was hard-wired to the building and powered with propane, he said.

The fire department purchased the generator in 1999 for $14,000 and depends on it during power outages to open bay doors, keep the engine batteries charged and keep the power on at the Cornet station.

Chief Koorn isn't sure how much the generator weighed, but said "it was more than two people could pick up."

The Troxell Road Station is still in service; however, it'll go without power if there's an outage. Firefighters will have to manually open the fire bay doors and use flashlights if power is interrupted.

This is a first, he said, adding that the department hasn't experienced theft before.

Detective Ed Wallace with the Island County Sheriff's Office said the investigation into the case is ongoing. He's unsure what the thieves will do with the generator.

"Something that big would be hard to explain" to a potential buyer, he said.

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