Escambia County firefighter working Thanksgiving had personal truck stolen from station
An Escambia County firefighter working overtime during the Thanksgiving holiday woke up Thursday morning to find that someone had stolen his personal truck from outside the fire station.
Now, Escambia County firefighter Allen Harrison hopes the thief has a change of heart or someone shares information that can lead authorities to the truck and the thousands of dollars of personal items Harrison had inside.
"I don't know who it was or what. But if they would just bring it back, I don't care. I won't even press any charges. I just want my truck back," Harrison told the News Journal on Friday.
The 2012 black Toyota Tundra was stolen from Escambia County Fire Station No. 14 at 9350 Gulf Beach Highway in the Pleasant Grove community between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Escambia County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Amber Southard confirmed Friday that the agency opened an investigation into the theft but could not provide additional details about the case.
Harrison started working part-time with Escambia County Fire Rescue in 2010. He switched to full-time in 2015 but often works side jobs in addition to his firefighting duties to support his wife and three children.
"I had about $3,000 worth of tools in the bed of my truck because I do side jobs," Harrison said. "That’s the main thing I'm upset about. The personal items I had in there, some I can replace. Some I can't replace."
He added that this week, he learned his auto insurance only covers $250 of personal items that were inside the truck when it was stolen.
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Harrison picked up shift so another firefighter could go on Thanksgiving trip
Harrison is assigned to Escambia County Fire Rescue Station No. 3 on North W Street and his truck had a bumper sticker on its back window with his unit's logo.
The only reason he was working at the Pleasant Grove station that night was because he picked up an overtime shift so another firefighter could go on a trip for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"It was parked outside. We don't have indoor parking. There is no secure parking at pretty much any fire station. We just have open facilities," Harrison said. "There are no behind the building chain-link fences for anything like that for us."
The firefighter parked his truck in front of the station Wednesday before he went to sleep at the station later that night. Unfortunately, his tools were not the only items he left in the vehicle.
"I had just had so much stuff in there because we just kind of live in our trucks, in a sense, because we are gone a third of the year," he said. "It's because of our schedules. We work 24 hours, and then we are off 48. So we are gone from our houses for a third of the year, and that's why I kind of keep more stuff than the average person keeps in their vehicle."
To make matters worse, Harrison had even more items in this truck this week than he normally would. His extra shift occurred after he already responded to a fire earlier that day and he didn't have time to clear out his truck before heading to his overtime posting.
"All my street clothes, my shoes and all that stuff were in the truck," he said. "They got like a whole wardrobe, and I'd just bought some Olukai shoes, and they were in the truck, too."
Compounding the streak of bad luck is the fact that Harrison wasn't even scheduled to be at the Pleasant Grove station for the shift.
"I was late getting to that other station because we had a fire first thing in the morning. So I didn't get there until an hour late," Harrison said. "I was supposed to be at a different station but got called and then switched stations with another guy.
"There were so many things, you're like, 'Man, the dominos just didn't fall in my favor.' But they just all lined up perfectly for this other person," he said, referring to whoever stole his truck.
Anyone with information about the theft or the vehicle's current whereabouts is asked to contact the ECSO at 850-436-9620.
Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at email@example.com or 850-435-8680.