Englewood Fire Department cleaning up after woman steals ambulan - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Englewood Fire Department cleaning up after woman steals ambulance, crashes through station door

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MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - A McMinn county fire department is left with thousands of dollars in damages after a woman decided to break in and steal an ambulance. It all unfolded over the weekend at the Engelwood Fire Department. The ambulance thief is behind bars, but firefighters have a bit of a mess on their hands.

"Engelwood's a small place. This is a big deal, you know?" says Englewood Police Chief Gary Miller.

A large sheet of plywood covers one of the bay doors to the Engelwood Fire Department and what is left of the door sits on the ground outside. Police say Terri Efaw managed to break in early Saturday morning, start up an ambulance, crash through the door and take off.

"Her comment when she was taken from the ambulance, I think she said she wanted to go to the hospital and she thought that was the quickest way to get there. And she's probably right," says Chief Miller.

Miller says he got the call around 2 o'clock Saturday morning. The on-call ambulance driver suddenly awoke to a loud noise at the station.

"She said she heard a loud noise in the fire department. It sounded like a vehicle was trying to come through the building."

Not until she ran into the bay did she realize it was her vehicle crashing out of the building.

"It shocked her pretty much to see her ambulance actually driving off," says Miller.

After calling dispatch, an Englewood Police officer and sheriff's deputy were able to catch up with Efaw a few miles down the road and took her into custody.

"The officer who actually arrested her was familiar with her," says Miller.

Channel 3 learned Efaw has been arrested many times over the years with charges ranging from disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing to shop lifting and public intoxication.

"The main thing is getting her some help, getting her in a place where she can benefit."

In the meantime, word has spread quickly around town.

"Surely there's a quicker way to get to the hospital than that?" asks George Carroll.

George Carroll and his 95-year-old mother, who lives across from the fire station, say they know the incident will not slow down their hard-working, volunteer firefighters.

"They'll take care of it. The one thing about Englewood, we're a small town but we battle back and we've got good people here," says Carroll.

"I hope they get their door fixed," says his mother, Margaret Carroll.

Insurance is still assessing the damage but early estimates put the total at around $8,000.

Efaw is charged with theft of property and criminal trespassing. Chief Miller says her charges are being upgraded to burglary and two counts of vandalism. She is in jail on an $11,000 bond.
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