MOLINE -- Training is under way on a new rescue boat the Moline fire and police departments will use in river emergencies and incidents.
The two departments were awarded a $195,000 Port Security Grant grant to buy a new boat to respond to natural or man-made emergencies and situations on the Mississippi River.
The 30-foot boat now docked in Moline has two, 300 horse-power outboard motors, a 700-gallon a minute fire pump, underwater sonar, and dive doors at water level.
"It is the biggest boat Moline has ever had to provide service to the waterways," said Moline Fire Battalion Chief Todd Allen. "Our response will be quicker, and with the size and length of the boat, we can operate it in any kind of weather." he said.
"If there is a fire on a barge or anywhere we could not reach by land we will have the capability to fight that fire," Battalion Chief Allen said.
The fire department was responding to Mississippi River emergencies with a17-foot flat bottom boat with a 60 horse-power motor. If winds were strong, firefighters couldn't run it on the water, he said.
The department will continue to use that boatto respond to emergencies on the Rock River, Battalion Chief Allen said.
Police officers will use the new boat to respond to criminal concerns or activity on the water.
It will also be used to assist other agencies as needed, Battalion Chief Allen said.
The fire department named the new boat Old Mississippi II, in honor of the Old Mississippi, a Moline pumper truck that was used to help fight the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
The new boat will be on display at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, 619 16th St., prior to the city council meeting.
Today is Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2013. There are 18 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Merry sleigh bells jingle in our streets in the wake of a driving northwest storm of snow and rain. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Thomas Campbell was elected commander of John Buford Post 243, Grand Army of the Republic. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Thomas B. Reidy was named consul of C.W. Hawes Camp No. 1550, and L.H. Eihl was named consul of Camp 29, Modern Woodmen of America. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island aldermen last night upheld the view of a petition signed by 150 businessmen that the city should not install parking meters. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Total volume during the Christmas mailing season may reach 12 million pieces in Rock Island, according to Rock Island Postmaster Carl J.L. Wessel. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The aromas filling the air at the Rock Island Lines depot in Rock Island soon will be prime rib and roast duck rather than sawdust and plaster. A tourist train will be offering dinner excursions in mid-February or early March, according to Dan Carmody, executive director of the Development Association of Rock Island.