The day began with a disheartening theft that struck a rural Nova Scotia volunteer fire department.
It ended with evidence of the generosity and kindness of community.
On Wednesday morning, the East River Valley Fire Department in Pictou County discovered someone had stolen all four tires off one of their marked vehicles.
The vehicle was parked outside the fire hall, and the thief (or thieves) had left the SUV up on blocks.
Deputy Chief Jason MacIntyre posted a terse message on the station’s Facebook page, saying “that’s pretty damn low,” and included photos of the tire-less vehicle.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe someone would do that to an emergency vehicle,” he told Global News.
“I was shocked and then I was really angry.”
The small department, which MacIntyre said has “18 dedicated members,” relies on the 2010 Ford Expedition. The multi-functional vehicle is used for medical calls, in traffic accidents, and as a mutual aid vehicle for neighbouring departments.
With the vehicle out of commission, the public was put at risk.
“I would like to look (whoever stole the tires) in the face and tell them how disappointed I am that they would put people in this community at risk in such a way,” MacIntyre said.
“Why do something like this?”
He estimated it would have cost a couple thousand dollars to make the SUV roadworthy again — which can be a big sum for a volunteer department.
As word began to spread about the theft, the offers of support began to roll in.
First it was a few Facebook messages.
Then it was calls and texts.
People as far away as Yarmouth offered to donate rims and tires — and even deliver them.
In the end, not only did the department receive the replacements it needed, they were also gifted a security camera to install at the fire hall to prevent future thefts.
“All day long, nothing but messages and messages on my phone,” MacIntyre said.
“It was really quite overwhelming. Something so negative could turn out to be so positive is actually really good.”
MacIntyre called the day “mind-boggling” and “very humbling.”
And thanks to the community rallying to help, the SUV should be back on the road again by lunchtime on Thursday.
Meanwhile, RCMP is asking anyone with information about the theft to call Pictou County District RCMP at 902-755-4141 or Crime Stoppers.
The tires were 265/70R17 BF Goodrich All Terrain tires and were on black steel rims.