Recent News

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September 14, 2020

Credit with thanks to Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Operations Connelly for the video and photos:

Metalcraft Marine FireStorm 40 responding to the New Westminster Pier fire.

Vancouver Fire Rescue Services responded to the New Westminster Pier fire with their MetalCraft Firestorm 40 with twin Darley ZSM 3000 pumps.

You can see how well the boat knocked down the fire with their Elkhart Spitfire monitors. The boat was operating in very shallow water where no normal fireboat could operate.

September 10, 2020

By Dale K. DuPont on September 10, 2020, for workboat.com.

Fireboats used to aerate section of Biscayne Bay

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department’s two fireboats were recently called on for an unusual job — help save the sea life in Biscayne Bay.

Fireboats 21 and 73 spent four hours and covered about two square miles aerating a portion of the bay with thousands of dead and dying creatures ranging from pufferfish and eels to lobster and grunts.

The emergency aeration worked — for the time being. Oxygen readings increased by 30% directly around the boats and 15% about 100 yards away, according to Miami Waterkeeper, the environmental organization coordinating the response to the fish kill.

“It does seem like it helped,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of the group that’s concerned about water quality. “I hope we never have to do it again. What we need is to improve the quality overall.”

The size and severity of the fish kill reported last month appear unparalleled for the bay, Waterkeeper said on its site. The low oxygen levels were due to pollution from sources such as sewage leaks, septic tanks, stormwater runoff, and fertilizer overuse.

So using the boats to give marine life more oxygen made sense.

“That’s a unique scenario,” said Chad DuMars, vice president of operations, Lake Assault Boats, Superior, Wisc., which has built a number of fireboats. “That’s kind of out-of-the-box thinking, and I like it.”

Andy Alvarez, chief fire officer of the department’s marine services bureau, wasn’t aware of the boats being used for such a mission before.

“At the end of the day, fireboats are there to protect life and property and the environment,” he said.

The 55’x16′ Fireboat 73 and the 36’x15′ Fireboat 21 were built by MetalCraft Marine, Kingston, Ontario, in 2005 and 2006. Both have Hale fire pumps which can pump 4,000 gpm on 21 and 8,500 gpm on 73, Alvarez said.

At the end of the month, the department is due to take delivery of Defiant 50 X fireboats from Metal Shark. The 50’x15′ vessels with welded aluminum monohull design are being built at Metal Shark’s Jeanerette, La., facility. Projected top speed will be in excess of 45 knots. They’ve gotten a grant for a third 50′ boat which is expected in a year, Alvarez said.

The fireboat program also will soon have three Rapid Rescue Vessels (RRV) to serve the coastline and three airboats for the Florida Everglades.

July 12, 2020

The fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego is an ongoing and developing story.

Some news sources about this incident:

Here is some of what we know:

On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Local, base, and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. USS Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability, which began in 2018.

The origin of the fire is still unknown and is pending investigation.

At least 21 people are injured, and there are no fatalities.

Fire aboard the <strong>USS Bonhomme Richard</strong> at Naval Base San Diego Fire aboard the <strong>USS Bonhomme Richard</strong> at Naval Base San Diego
June 6, 2020

Jacksonville Fire used several MetalCraft Marine fireboats in response to a massive fire aboard the car carrier Hoëgh Xiamen at Blount Island terminal, which began on June 4th and burned through June 11th.

We have several photos taken over several days in our Flickr album.

The fire involved over 150 firefighters, nine of whom were hurt in an explosion on board.

First Coast News and Firefighter.com also have reports.

The Jacksonville Association of Firefighters has a fundraising site to help the injured firefighters in their recuperation at home.

May 21, 2020

Fires keep erupting in marinas around Miami this month!

Most recently we have two different reports from Rickenbacker Marina:

First from Local10.com: Rickenbacker Marina fire leaves 6 boats damaged with two videos and some interviews.

The second is from @miami_problems_ on Instagram which is cellphone video taken by free hands aboard Miami City FireStorm 50 Fireboat

Here's what's notable about the Instagram video.

Around the 3-minute mark you can see just how little room the Firestorm 50 has to manoever between the blaze and shore.

Low draft and jet-propulsion means the boat can get into tight spaces, in very shallow water, with phenomenal station-keeping capabilities. But still. Kudos to the helmsman on this emergency response.

May 7, 2020

Two MetalCraft Marine fireboats responded to an impressive fire at Crandon Park Marina on Key Biscayne, off Miami FL. Both vessels are MetalCraft Firestorm 50’s, from Miami Dade and Miami City. The Miami Dade vessel was delivered in early 2007, and the Miami City boat was delivered a couple years ago.

Three different reports:

From Local10.com: 6 boats damaged in fire at Crandon Park Marina with video and interviews.

“The main hazard when fighting the fire (from the) fireboat is our firefighters falling into the water,” Chief Fire Officer Peter Lugo, of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said. “They might step onto the boat that’s on fire to get better access, the fiberglass could be brittle (and) they could step right through and get trapped under the boat.”

From 7-News Miami: Firefighters put out multi-boat fire at dock near Key Biscayne with video and photos.

“A Miami-Dade Fire Boat pulled one of the boats that were on fire out to the open area outside of the marina and anchored it and fought that one,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Battallion Chief Peter Lugo, “while the City of Miami boat fought the one that was still anchored. There was also a dinghy that was on fire. The City of Miami put that one out at the same time they were fighting the boat fire.”

From CBS Channel 4 in Miami: Fire Spreads To Four Boats At Key Biscayne’s Crandon Marina

Arriving fire crews found two vessels fully engulfed in flames. They immediately attacked the flames with foam in an effort to keep it from spreading to other vessels on the dock.

“A large sailing vessel caught fire, then broke loose and set another large vessel on fire, it then kept drifting to set a small vessel on fire, which burnt another large vessel,” according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

April 6, 2020

Due to high winds, a sailboat got loose from its anchorage and went aground on Shelter Island across from the Kona Kai Resort on April 7, 2020. At approximately 4:55pm, two San Diego Harbor Police boats and one United States Coast Guard boat arrived to assist in the rescue.

March 27, 2020

Here's a story on DailyBreeze.com about the christening at the Port of Los Angeles of their brand new Interceptor 4344.

There’s a new piece in the Port of Los Angeles security toolbox — a 43-foot patrol and dive vessel.

The vessel, simply named Boat 42, was christened Thursday morning, Feb. 13, in San Pedro. Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, spoke during the ceremony and the Rev. Maurice Harrigan officially christened the boat by sprinkling holy water on it.

The vessel will be used for specialized dive team operations and general patrol duties of the port. It is equipped with night vision, wireless communications, advanced navigation, and nuclear, chemical and biological detection equipment.

March 8, 2020
Savannah Now — Joseph Bandy, the battalion chief, talks about their FireStorm 50.

Here's a very gratifying news article by Savannah Now.

It's very clear that Savannah's FireStorm 50 played a pivotal role:

“That’s 20 people inside,” Bandy said. “If you want to think about this literally, their life was in the hands of the boat crew, as the water that they were using to protect both themselves and that building all came from the river.”

Here's the text of the whole article. Follow the links, there's video, and many great photos.

By Will Peebles
@willpeeblesSMN
Posted Mar 8, 2020 at 5:01 PM

Savannah Fire: ‘Fire boat’ proved invaluable at Eastern Wharf fire

When Savannah Fire arrived at the multistory inferno at the Eastern Wharf last week, one thing was immediately apparent: they were going to need more water.

Joseph Bandy, the battalion chief over special operations for Savannah Fire, was one of the hundreds who responded to the blaze. He was in command of the eastern side of the site, leading the team tasked with stopping the fire from spreading northeast towards the river.

“We realized immediately, we’re gonna have water issues. So we called the crew for the fire boat,” Bandy said. “We laid about 500 feet of hose to the boat, and they supplied all the water that went to the back of that building.”

The city purchased the 50-foot boat, dubbed Marine One, for $1.6 million in 2014 using a $1.2 million federal Homeland Security grant, as well as city and private funding.

Commonly called “the fire boat,” the all-hazards response boat has a wide variety of applications. It’s capable of working in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environments. The cabin is sealed, pressurized and filtered with clean air, which allows the workers inside the boat to breathe regardless of what’s going on outside.

During the city’s 2018 budget deliberations, the operating cost and practicality of the fire boat was debated in City Hall, and ultimately the funding was cut and the boat’s crew was moved to other positions in the department.

Last Thursday, it was needed.

Marine One has two engines that can be used to pump water, and during the fire, it was called into action.

Advanced Firefighters Rachael Scott and Ryan Bargeron, Capt. Joseph Shaw and Fire Engineer Chris Lamb manned the boat. From noon to midnight, they pumped millions of gallons of water from the Savannah River, pressurized it, and sent it down a hoseline toward the trucks and crews fighting the fire in the apartment building on the east side of the development.

There, Bandy and his crew went to work. In a massive fire like the Eastern Wharf fire, the department splits into groups. Bandy led the Charlie crew, where five teams of firefighters were sent inside the apartments on the east side of the development, fighting the fire back with water pumped from the river.

“That’s 20 people inside,” Bandy said. “If you want to think about this literally, their life was in the hands of the boat crew, as the water that they were using to protect both themselves and that building all came from the river.”

Over the course of the four-day firefight, Savannah Fire hit the blaze with an estimated 18 million gallons of water. For reference, all of the water in the tanks at the Georgia Aquarium totals around 10 million gallons.

The fire boat pumped around a third of the total, around 5.5 million gallons of water over the course of 12 hours.

The blaze was huge, bursting from unfinished windows and enveloping the structure, and the exposed flammable materials exacerbated the risk of the fire spreading.

“What allowed it to spread so fast is that there was no sheetrock on the walls. It’s just all open studs, and once it gets started, it goes quick,” Bandy said.

They were able to stop the fire from spreading to the apartments, but Bandy said without the fire boat, it could’ve been a different story.

“Had we not had the boat down there and had that crew on there not pumped the water, you could be looking at a whole different picture over there,” Bandy said. “It would have run to the river, and there would have been nothing standing.”

March 5, 2020
Perth Amboy Rescue

Here's a good news rescue of a boater from a boat fire off Perth Amboy. The Middlesex Daily Voice reports.

See more photos of Perth Amboy's Firestorm 36 and some of their past rescues.

Man rescued from a boat fire off Perth Amboy.
February 18, 2020
Tragedy at Fisher Island, FL
Two Miami-Dade FireStorm fireboats respond to a ferry tragedy off Fisher Island, FL.

NEAR FISHER ISLAND, Fla. (WSVN) – Two women have been found dead inside of a car that fell off a ferry, which runs between Fisher Island and Miami Beach.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene off Government Cut at around 5 p.m., Tuesday.

The operators of the Pelican ferry boat reported a car had gone overboard, and two women were in the vehicle, according to witnesses.

Read the whole thing from Channel 7 News in Miami.

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