The Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Society asking for the return of four plaques stolen from the Firefighters Memorial Plaza in Old Strathcona.
Noel Bugnet, chairman of the Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Society, said the society does not know exactly when the plaques were taken, but believes it occurred within the last few days after a member made the discovery earlier Saturday.
Four bronze plaques were taken from the bell tower memorializing fallen firefighters at 10322 83 Ave.
“They were going for the most bronze,” Bugnet said. “They took the ones that are the heaviest with all the current names, because we have blank ones ready to go but those aren’t worth as much.”
Bugnet said the society plans to report the theft to the Edmonton Police Service, but in the meantime is pleading for the return of the plaques.
“These plaques are important to not only us, but the families of those involved,” Bugnet said. “They come down there and see their family member’s name up there, that’s extraordinarily important to them. We’re not looking for anything other than our plaques returned.”
Bugnet said the memorial has been vandalized before but “nothing quite like this.” In 2015, The Rescue statue was found defaced with a black marker and a chokecherry tree was cut down beside it.
Bugnet said it will cost thousands of dollars to replace the plaques and they will not be able to put new plaques on the memorial in time for the society’s annual ceremony held on Sept. 11 that honours fallen members of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Service and the 343 firefighters killed during the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
He said whoever took the plaques would not be able to sell them because, according to city bylaw, they would have to prove they are the owner of them.
“They’re not going to be able to get rid of them and I can’t see how it would be of any use to them,” Bugnet said.
He said if anyone knows the whereabouts of the plaques, or the person(s) who took them are willing to return them, they can be brought to any fire hall in the city “no questions asked.”