Fire department’s flags stolen |

Fire department’s flags stolen

BRECKENRIDGE – Red, White and Blue firefighters were disheartened to find their American and Colorado flags missing Sunday morning. While the theft might have been a prank, it was a personal affront to those in the fire department.

“The American flag and the Colorado state flag mean a lot to us,” said Kim O’Brien, public information officer for Red, White and Blue Fire Department. “We can’t help but take it personally.”

“It’s a symbol of what we do,” said Capt. Mike Rutherford, adding that he believes the theft was meant as an attack on the department.

The Breckenridge fire department has been on the receiving end of several pranks lately – and the theft adds injury to insult.

On Friday afternoon, someone paintballed one of the department’s fire trucks as firefighters drove to the Breckenridge Recreation Center, Rutherford said. One of the town’s circulator busses and several cars also were paintballed. Fire officials believe kids in the Kingdom Park Townhomes were responsible for the paintballing and reported the incident to the Breckenridge Police.

O’Brien said she believes the paintballing likely was some kids “having fun” but she and Rutherford stressed that the paintballs could have caused injury.

“The greatest concern I had was if the window had been down it could have hit a firefighter in the face,” Rutherford said, adding that the department’s fire trucks also have been a target for snowballs recently.

While the pranksters might mean no harm in their actions, firefighters find them insulting.

“It is offensive,” Rutherford said of the pranks. “We’re out there to help people and we feel that we do good.”

“I hope it’s not a malicious act,” O’Brien said. “But on the receiving end, it certainly doesn’t feel that good.”

In addition, the fire truck belongs to the taxpayers – not the fire department, Rutherford said, and firefighters have a responsibility to take care of the equipment.

Fire officials are asking those responsible for Sunday’s theft to return the department’s flags, and firefighters will accept the flags with no questions asked, Rutherford said.

“I hope it’s not a sign of the town that we have to start locking our flagpole,” O’Brien said of the theft.

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or

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