Fire dept. criticized for including AR-15 in auction

Attendees of the Cameron Park Fire Department annual Crab Feed said including the gun just days after a fatal school shooting was “extremely wrong”

By FireRescue1 Staff

CAMERON PARK, Cal. — A fire department drew criticism from several people who attended their annual fundraiser auction when they saw an AR-15 was being raffled off.

FOX40 reported that a group of attendees at the Cameron Park Fire Department Crab Feed, which benefits the Cameron Park Firefighters Association, were upset that the gun was being raffled off just days after Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people in a school shooting with a similar weapon.

"Poor taste, I would say," Nancy Lugo said. "That doesn't even describe it. He was encouraging people to come over and look at the AR-15, saying that it was going to go fast.”

Allison Merrill also attended the fundraiser and said she was shocked to see the gun.

"It just felt extremely wrong," Merrill said.

The two women were given a refund and left the fundraiser, saying they would not have attended if they had known about the raffle item.

Cal Fire, who has a contract agreement with the Cameron Park Fire Department, said guns have been a part of the fundraiser for 15 years, and the AR-15 was donated by a community member to raise money for the Explorer and resident firefighter programs.

"District Board members and staff recognize that including guns in the raffle items, organized by the Cameron Park Fire Fighters Association, was insensitive in light of the recent mass shooting event in Florida and other places across the United States in past months and years,” Cal Fire said in a statement. “The District deeply apologizes for this insensitivity to the youth and families affected by this horrific event and other mass shootings."

"I mean the kids in Florida are outraged and they're angry and they're talking, and the whole country is talking about this," Merrill said. "And it just felt so tone deaf that here we are in our community just giving this type of gun out as a prize."

Cameron Park Community Services District board members said they are reviewing their policies.


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