Fire­fighter me­mo­rial lad­ders stolen from graves

South Shore Breaker - - Front Page - KATHY JOHN­SON kathy.john­son@bel­laliant.net

About 100 minia­ture me­mo­rial lad­ders that marked the graves of Bridge­wa­ter fire­fight­ers in Brook­side Ceme­tery have gone miss­ing.

“We no­ticed it dur­ing Fire Pre­ven­tion Week that it looked like a few of the lad­ders were among the miss­ing,” said Bridge­wa­ter fire chief Michael Nauss. A tra­di­tion that has been done by nu­mer­ous fire de­part­ments, the minia­ture lad­ders are a way to rec­og­nize and hon­our fire­fight­ers who have passed away. “We’ve been do­ing it well over 100 years,” said Nauss. “It’s one way we hon­our our fire­fight­ers dur­ing Fire Pre­ven­tion Week who had passed on the year be­fore by plac­ing the lad­ders on the graves.”

Af­ter a bag with 10 of the lad­ders was found in a ditch on the Cen­ten­nial Trail in Bridge­wa­ter, Nauss said the de­part­ment re­ported the gravesite thefts to the po­lice de­part­ment and did an in­ven­tory of the gravesites.

“There are about 100 in to­tal miss­ing,” he said. “Brook­side Ceme­tery is the main area that was hit hard. It’s hard to say how long it has been go­ing on,” Nauss said, adding the de­part­ment did speak with a num­ber of fam­ily mem­bers who had vis­ited the sites ear­lier in Oc­to­ber who said the lad­ders were still on the graves when they vis­ited. “There’s over 200 fire­fight­ers buried at the ceme­tery,” he said.

The fire de­part­ment is hop­ing any­one with any in­for­ma­tion about the miss­ing lad­ders will come for­ward. “Not so much to get any­one in trou­ble, we’d just like to see them come back if at all pos­si­ble,” said Nauss.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can con­tact the Bridge­wa­ter town of­fice at 902-543-4651, the Bridge­wa­ter Po­lice De­part­ment at 902-543-2464 or the Bridge­wa­ter Fire De­part­ment at

902-543-4203.

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