WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Why? It’s the biggest question firefighters in West Warwick have after a firefighter memorial in town was vandalized over the weekend.
“Very hurt, very angry, just don’t know why it happened,” Lt. Jim Rita said Wednesday. “We’re hoping it was either, you know, an accident. Hopefully, it wasn’t malicious. If it was malicious, I don’t know why they would want to do something to something so sacred to us.”
Sometime over the weekend, vandals struck at West Warwick Firefighters Memorial Park on Cowesett Avenue near Station 4, overturning a stone bench and a memorial headstone. Several bricks on the stone walkway were also damaged.
Police determined that a vehicle hit the memorial and based on the evidence found at the scene, they believe it was a silver Nissan Murano SUV.
Rita – who is the chairman of the West Warwick Firefighters Memorial – said firefighters fundraised and built most of the memorial themselves.
“Obviously it means everything to us. This is a way to honor our deceased members,” Rita added. “One of our chiefs, who passed away before the completion of the memorial, it was his vision or dream to have something to honor all of our deceased brothers and sisters.”
Rita said the department is still assessing the cost of the damage. They are hoping to do most of the repairs themselves but may have to fundraise yet again.
The fire station has surveillance cameras but they were not working at the time.
“We just want somebody to come forward and say, ‘I did this’ and whatever reason why and make good on it. That’s all we’re asking for. We just want the park to be what it was before,” Rita said.
Anyone with information on the incident should contact the West Warwick Police Department at (401) 821-4323.