Thief steals ‘Jaws of Life’ unit from Osolo Township Fire Department during annual dinner

engine-1-2ELKHART, Indiana — Osolo Township Fire Department Chief Mike Smith said he was “shocked” to learn that $6,000 worth of equipment from one of his fire trucks had been stolen.

The theft occurred during the department’s annual dinner at the Matterhorn Restaurant, located at 2041 Cassopolis St., the evening of Feb. 18. Smith said one of his firefighters noticed a car circling a fire truck parked out behind the restaurant and went to investigate.

According to a police report, a firefighter noticed that one of the compartments on the fire truck was opened and that a hydraulic power unit was missing. Smith said the unit, better known as the “jaws of life,” is used to rescue people from wrecked vehicles.

“I just couldn’t believe that somebody would steal something from a fire truck,” said Smith.

A police report was filed abou the missing unit, which Smith said would cost around $6,000 to replace. Smith said the fire department has submitted a claim to its insurance company and that they are hopeful the insurance company will pay to replace the unit.

The department has back-up units, but Smith said the extra units are there in case one fails during a call.

He said that if insurance does not pay for the stolen unit, the department has not yet decided what it will do to replace it.