Flagless poles in the Fresno area are becoming common sight

May 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's a crime many people feel is unpatriotic and despicable, stealing the American flag. But, the past few weeks thieves have cut ropes to take old glory, from several agencies that serve the public.

Late Thursday a brand new flag was hoisted up the pole at Fresno City Fire Station 7. A small flag near the road has been waving in it's place at the station off Jensen and Cherry avenues.

Firefighters say they returned from a call Saturday morning to find their flag had been ripped off.

Fresno Fire Captain Tim Fulmer said, "And when we turned into the driveway we noticed that the rope to the flagpole, American flag was laying on the ground. So when we noticed that, we looked up, and saw our flag was gone."

Captain Fulmer said the flag's monetary value mattered far less than the principle. The bold theft had fire fighters seeing red.

"It's the pride of our country, there are people right now, fighting for our freedom that have been fighting for our freedom for years and years and years," said Captain Fulmer.

While firefighters worked to get a new flag and rope, their next door neighbors were looking to find a temporary replacement flag.

In between fixing transmissions and brakes, Richard Estrada heard what happened and gave up his small flag, the one that waved on his tool box.

Estrada said, "It's a downer, these guys work hard everyday nonstop, in and out, in and out and it's just our patriotic duty to make sure that we help one another, our neighbors."

The VFW building off of Ashlan and Hughes also had it's flag stolen. Firefighters helped install a new one recently.

It's unclear why the flags are becoming more popular to steal, but firefighters say they assume their weekend theft may be related to Memorial Day.

Fire crews say despite their frustration, they were inspired by the kindness of neighbors who ensured the station waves the red white and blue.

Captain Fulmer said, "They said we can't have a fire station without the American flag, that's what people look for in the neighborhood is at a fire station, is the American flag."

A new 40 foot flagpole is going to be installed here soon, only this one will have cables inside the pole so they will be less likely to be stolen again.


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