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Fire station burglarized while crews battle Morgan fire

September 10, 2013|By Samantha Schaefer
  • A helicopter is dwarfed by the large smoke clouds rising from a fire in Mt. Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County in California.
A helicopter is dwarfed by the large smoke clouds rising from a fire in Mt.… (Jose Carlos Fajardo / MCT )

Two Contra Costa County fire stations were broken into early this week while crews battled the wildfire raging in Mt. Diablo State Park.

Firefighters’ personal belongings were stolen from Fire Station 7 while crews fought to control the Morgan fire, said Robert Marshall, a spokesman for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

There also was an attempted burglary at Fire Station 3, but the crew was still inside the building, he said. Both stations are in Walnut Creek. 

Marshall said he isn’t aware of an incident like this happening before -- firefighters don’t expect stations to be burglarized when they leave to protect the community, he said. 

“It’s just kind of unbelievable that somebody would think that that was a good idea to steal the belongings of people who are working to protect them,” he said. “To have our trust violated like that, it hurts.”

Local police are investigating, he said.

The Morgan fire, which was first reported shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, is a large one for the area, Marshall said. The last major fire on Mt. Diablo occurred in August 1977 after lightning sparked a 6,000-acre blaze.

The terrain, particularly on the backside of the mountain, is  steep and rocky, he said, and the hot, dry weather hasn’t helped firefighters. The area hasn’t burned in so long that there is an abundance of fuel for the wildfire to tear through, he said.

The estimated burn area of the Morgan fire was reduced to 3,243 acres overnight Monday as a result of better mapping, and containment increased from 20% to 45%, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Todd Williams.

Cooler weather with more coastal influence enabled crews to make progress on the blaze Monday night.

Two air tankers,  three water-dropping helicopters and about 700 firefighters were battling the blaze Tuesday, and 75 structures remain threatened, Cal Fire said. 

Evacuations remained in place for Oak Hill Lane, Curry Canyon, Curry Lane, Curry Point, Trail Ride Road, East Trail Road, Russelman Park Road, Upper Trail Road and Lower Trail Road. An evacuation center was opened at the Clayton Community Library in Clayton.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. 


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