Firefighters’ boot, used to collect charitable donations, stolen from North End fire house

Since 1954, firefighters from around North America have gathered donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in old fire boots. In their fund-raising efforts, firefighters greet motorists on the street with the boots, bring them to community events, and many times hang a single boot outside the station to collect change.

Last week, the boot outside of the Boston Fire Department’s North End station was stolen, cut open, and looted.

When firefighters arrived at the Hanover Street firehouse, home to Ladder 1 and Engine 8, early Thursday they found the boot missing. Remnants were discovered in nearby Paul Revere Park, cut open and without any of the donated cash.

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Firefighters said they weren’t sure how much money was in the boot when it was stolen.

Firefighters reported the incident to Boston police, but no suspect has been identified, MacDonald said.

“All around the country, firefighters raise millions of dollars,” MacDonald said. “That money is raised with nickels, dimes, and dollar bills.”

The International Association of Firefighters has raised nearly $275 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association since the organization became the union’s official charity in 1954, according to the IAFF website.

Since the boot heist, more North End residents than ever have been stopping by the station with their spare change, MacDonald said.

“It’s just one of those unfortunate things,” MacDonald said. “But the firefighters found another boot and put it out to collect donations.”