Palmer, Alaska — Alaska State Troopers are investigating a burglary that took place over the weekend at the Palmer headquarters of two state wildfire suppression crews.
State Division of Forestry officials say personal items and state equipment were stolen, including computers and at least one vehicle.
The building is a home base for the Pioneer Peak Hot Shots crew who are fighting Utah wildfires, and the Gannett Glacier crew who just returned from the fire lines in Fairbanks.
"This is what they do- go fight fire. And they don't need to be thinking about if their stuff is going to be okay back home," says Lori Wiertsema with the Division of Forestry.
The building is blocked off as troopers investigate, leaving people like Christina Glover wondering if the thieves managed to take anything else of hers. She says her and her husband's 2002 Toyota Tundra was stolen- valued at more than $20,000.
"I have a three-month old and I have a seven year-old. And I know my garage door opener was in that vehicle along with some keys. So I'm having to change my locks, change my codes, change everything. It's terrifying," Glover says.
It's not the first time the building was targeted. In 2009, vandals broke in and trashed the building, stole five vehicles and damaged a few other parked cars. The mess was what firefighters returned to after working to extinguish a massive wildfire in Fairbanks. Two people were arrested soon after.
"I think it's a secluded area, not much action happens around here. It's down in a hole and they're gone for months at a time so it's honestly kind of perfect if it's not heavily secured with surveillance," Glover says.
Forestry officials say the Gannett Glacier crew was supposed to help with wildfires in the Lower 48 but has to stay in Alaska until the burglary investigation is completed.
"It's just an unfortunate event," says Glover. "Extremely unfortunate."
Anyone with information can call Alaska State Troopers at 269-5511.