BANGOR, Maine — A little over a month after initially winning an 8-1 approval from the Bangor City Council to purchase a new fire boat, the Bangor Fire Department is finally putting in the order, and not a moment too soon.
“We are still kind of playing beat-the-clock,” said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Bostock. “We are using Homeland Security grant funds from 2008, 2009 and 2010, but some of that funding was due to expire this month.”
The 26-foot, aluminum-hulled boat will cost $184,434 and is expected to be delivered by boat-maker Northwind Marine of Seattle, Wash., in late March or early April.
The purchase was delayed after Councilor Geoffrey Gratwick petitioned Council Chairwoman Susan Hawes to reconsider the vote in order to check if a boat could be ordered from a Maine company.
When none could be found that could build a comparable firefighting and rescue ship, the council voted to reapprove the purchase early last week.
The boat, which features one deck-mounted water cannon, can be operated by one person, but ideally would have three emergency personnel for rescue and firefighting missions.
“It’s ideal for fighting fires in homes on the water that aren’t close to hydrants because this boat can pump water to land-based firefighters,” Bostock said. “But the main reason we are buying it is because it’s a rescue boat, not just for its firefighting capabilities.”
The boat’s 8-foot beam makes it more stable and it also features a rescue door mounted just above the waterline to more easily rescue people from the water. It will also feature a Forward Looking Infrared Imaging system that will pinpoint people in the water day or night.
“We’ve also had conversations about being able to use it as a support ship for cleaning up spills,” said Bostock.
The boat will have an enclosed cabin for security and likely will be moored at the city’s Dock 4, which is near the Sea Dog Brewing Co. and between the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge and the large dock for cruise ships and large yachts.