Ala. volunteer fire department vandalized

The spray-painted writing covered much of the building and included expletives and racial slurs

By Benjamin Nunnally
The Gadsden Times

GADSDEN, Ala. — The Coates Bend Volunteer Fire Department was vandalized late Saturday night, leaving the building and its accompanying storm shelter covered in green and pink profanity.

Chief Michael Prickett said the graffiti stretched over much of the department building, as "high as you can reach, and all the way down the 80-foot side in back," and all around the storm shelter beside the building.

"It took several people," said Prickett. "They didn't do this in five minutes."

The spray-painted writing included expletives, racial slurs and references to internet memes, including "Harambe," a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo that was shot in May last year after a boy climbed into his enclosure, later becoming a popular online reference.

Some of the station's volunteers — 14 total, including firefighters and paramedics — worked to clean the profanity from the walls of the building Sunday, with mixed results. Outlines of the words remained visible even after the paint had been pressure-washed off of wooden panels. More was spray painted on the street beside the station, and a nearby stop sign. On the brick parts of the building, the paint was impossible to remove.

There was no structural damage to either building, according to Prickett.

Some of the more obscene expletives were cleaned away with gasoline, including several on the side of the building facing Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which Prickett said is about 150 yards away from the station.

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office was notified of the vandalism.

"Our investigators will be working on it, and we fully expect to hold somebody accountable for it," said Chief Deputy of Enforcement Michael Barton.

Prickett said a representative from the department's insurance company is expected to take a look at the building soon.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact Investigator Brian Smith at 256-613-8624.

Copyright 2017 The Gadsden Times



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