Houston firefighters hit by car burglars possibly while out on calls

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Firefighters who risk their lives are seeing their vehicles broken into at the fire station.

Houston police say they've responded to three vehicle break-ins in five weeks at Fire Station 35.

But the firefighter's union says they've had security issues in the past and asked the fire department administration for security improvements back in February.

Firefighters believe the crooks are jumping the fence, possibly when they're out on calls, and then breaking into cars and stealing other items from the fire station.

"This is not something that's a luxury. These men and women are out all hours of the day and night, and you never know when the next call is going to come, and the last thing they should be worried about is people breaking in and stealing and vandalizing their personal property," said Marty Lancton, HFD Firefighters' Union.

In fact, back in February, the same fire station expressed concerns to HFD, saying they'd been the victims of crime on a number of occasions. They requested cameras, protective wiring around the fencing and upgraded security.

So when they were still seeing break-ins five months later, firefighters weren't happy.

"This once again highlights the city has done nothing and the firefighters are out there serving the citizens of Houston at a moments' notice, and leaving for calls should not have to be worried about people coming in and stealing and vandalizing their personal property while we're out there saving Houstonians lives," Lancton said.

Fire Chief Samuel Pena talked with ABC13. He said firefighters' safety and security is the department's top priority.

He said after a recent break-in they are now making it a top priority to add barbed wire to the fencing that surrounds the station's parking lot.

HFD sent this statement:
"Our goal is to provide a secure and safe work environment for all of our employees and visitors to the City's fire stations. We are working with GSD to reprioritize funding to upgrade fencing and address the vandalism issue at station 35.

We are also working to file the appropriate police reports for any property loss suffered by our employees as a result of the recent vandalism incidents at station 35. "


Pena said they haven't discussed installing cameras at this point.

Houston police are looking in to who is committing the break-ins. If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. You can also make an anonymous tip online at www.Crime-Stoppers.org.

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