Vandalism won't stop hayride tradition

EGG HARBOR TWP., N.J. - October 1, 2009 They were trying to repair 7 tractors in time for Friday's annual Haunted Hay Ride. An event held each October to raise money for the department. This year, however, someone tried to bring the event to a screeching halt; they sabotaged the tractors by pouring sand into the engine's oil tanks.

"They knew what they were doing; they were trying to shut us down," Chief Michael Fiedor said. When asked why would anyone do this, he replied, "We don't know, we don't have a clue, we don't think we have an enemy."

Firefighters do not believe this was some kid's prank; they believe this was something more insidious because the perpetrators damaged all of their tractors, but left those tractors that did not belong to them untouched.

"[It's] like the person or persons knew our tractors and knew that if they touched the other two, they'd be hurting somebody else, not the fire department," Chief Fiedor said.

Action News asked Chief Fiedor if they believe it was an inside job.

"I don't think an inside job, but there is somebody out there or persons that don't like us or don't like what's going on here," Chief Fiedor said.

While police investigate, the fire company has a show to put on. It is a show that has become a bit of a tradition over the last 8 years and attracts thousands from across the region.

Volunteers have a message for the person or persons responsible:

"I'm going to look you right in the eye on behalf of the fire department; you're not going to cut us down. You're not going to take away what the people want out here and that's a hayride," Fiedor said.

And so, the race continued to that end. They may not have all of their tractors up and running, but the show will go on as planned beginning Friday night at 7 p.m.

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