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Sun Prairie Fire Chief: training center vandalism feels “personal”

SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) — The Sun Prairie Fire Department training center was vandalized twice in the past two weeks, causing at least $60,000 damage.

Chief Christopher Garrison said the damage was mostly contained to the two homes they have on site. He said the department uses them for search and rescue drills.

“We’re out here about every Monday night and it’ll set us back a couple of weeks,” he said.

Garrison said the vandals stopped by last Tuesday to take out the bottom windows. That caused about $30,000 in damage. Then they returned a week later to break in, damaging props and equipment on the second floor.

“They were very methodical,” Garrison said. “They made sure they got a hold of everything.”

In total, he believes the center saw about $60,000 in damage. That’s why for hours on Wednesday, Garrison said firefighters were cleaning up glass and boarding windows.

“It’s not their job,” he said. “I’ve got three firefighters out here fixing windows when they should be training.”

The chief said he’s hopeful the people who did this will be found and arrested thanks to the multiple security cameras on scene.

The fire department on released surveillance photos of the suspected vandals in the first incident Tuesday and were able to take a look at video from the second incident on Wednesday afternoon.

Based on the images, Garrison believes it’s the same vandals.

Firefighters are offering a $500 reward to the person who provides accurate information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

“Honestly, we’re taking this a little personally,” Garrison said.

According to the chief, the center faces a few weeks of repairs. He said they can’t perform any drills inside those houses until that cleanup is complete.

“It’s just unfortunate that somebody would come out here and take that away from these people,” he said. “To me it’s literally stealing from a volunteer organization in a sense.”

Anyone with information should call the Sun Prairie Police Department at 608-837-7336 or the tip line at 608-837-6300.

Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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