Fire at Clear Lake Marine Center.....

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We were headed out and happened upon this fire.* I happened to have my camera with me so I snapped a coupla shots.* We were hoping no one was hurt but then Life Flight showed up.* Rumore has it there is a man that is still in critical condition with burns.
 

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Here we go again. Gasoline spilled in the bilge, cleanup caused a disaster. That's about all I've heard so far.
 
I can say that "Miss Lois", the Seabrook fireboat is a great resource for our area. I have seen her on more than one occassion happen upon a fire that was out of control and she was the main player in getting it under control. Waterfront properties pose a different sort of threat to firefighters. The "waterside" of a building fire is most likely inaccessible to firefighters due to the proximity of water. So they are cut off from fighting a fire from that angle. The fireboat cancels out that disadvantage. I saw her fight a fire in 1997 over at Bal Harbour that was COMPLETELY out of control and that boat alone was what turned the tide. Anyway, something for any waterfront community to ponder.
 
The quantity of water that a fireboat can deliver makes a big difference. Your average fire engine in town delivers between 1000 and 1500 gallons per minute maximum. They are tied to firemains which have deposits and buildup inside them limiting their volume. Oftentimes the mains themselves are not capable of flowing as much as the eingine will in older sections of town.

Seattles new boat just recently put in service will flow in excess of 10,000 GPM. Tacoma's older fireboats (1983 vintage) will flow 7500 GPM. The difference between a 5 inch column of water and a 1.5 inch column of water provides much more penetration to the seat of the fire which is where extinguishment takes place.

The large nozzles can literally open up walls to get to the seat of the fire. Where land based companies are struggling to get inside the building for handlines (250 gpm), or open a path for master streams (1000 gpm) to get to the seat of the fire, the boat can make it's own opening.

Price of course is always a City's concern. How many fires will the boat respond to compared to a land company. How often will it be used compared to a land based unit? How much does it's upkeep cost? Then the bean counters do the math and cut the boats budget. At least that's what happens in my neck of the woods. Tacoma's boat typically responded less than 100 times per year while one of the south end engines took over 4000 calls.

We are currently renovating one of Tacoma's boats for about 4 million to take the place of the 2 boats that were in service up until 1999. The boats were originally designed with a 20 year service life. With minimal maintenance and repair only when totally broken they lasted 25 years. For example the engine oil was changed annually whether it needed it or not. 8V92's run against the governor don't pollute their oil very much do they?

Support from the boating community is important to keeping a fireboat in service. Boating groups, yacht clubs, port authorities, etc. all need to keep involved in making sure that funding keeps going to the fireboats.

Ken
Disclosure: Fireboat officer until budget cuts closed Fireboat Defiance in 1999.
 
I was out in my dinghy watching that fire at Bal Harbor. Took lots of pictures, but they are hard copy and I never scanned them in. I ended up ferrying people / water back and forth between Miss Lois and the shore, since they couldn't get close enough. They were really pumping some water though!

PS: That fire was caused by a kid playing with matches in a closet while his parents weren't home.
 
Thanks for the report Ken. And I would think the main beneficiaries of a fireboat would be landside establishments like Condos and Marinas and Houses. I would think they mostly respond to landside developments that are near(on) the water.
 
I was in the area today so I stopped by to see what was left, not much!
 

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"And I would think the main beneficiaries of a fireboat"

Actually the slow response times for the boats make the land companies clear winners for the condos/apts/houses. Typically the fires are found early in the process and the land companies get there in 3-5 minutes and make an interior attack with handlines. Since people go in and out of those occupancies regularly the access is good.

The commercial structures close to the water with large open areas, lots of flammable stock, and no one in them at night are the best fireboat fires. They have time to get big before the alarm of fire. And then the boat, marina, and tucked away places with poor access or poor water supply come behind them.

The next time you're on a rickety old dock imagine wearing another 70 pounds of clothing and gear and trying to drag a firehose with you. In fact carry/drag 500 feet of firehose to get to the boat on fire and then stand on the rickety old dock and go to work. Or, let the fireboat come in and drown it. No comparison in my mind.

Ken
 
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