Originally Posted Online: May 10, 2013, 4:43 pm
Last Updated: May 11, 2013, 9:46 am

Moline fire and policer launch new 30-foot rescue boat

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Engineer Chris Elliott, left, and Lt. Bill Gramling sit aboard Moline's new thirty foot boat at Marquis Harbor in Moline on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. The 600hp boat has a water pump for fighting fires and can be used by the police and fire department for river rescues and enforcement.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Moline's highly-visible red rescue boat was purchased with grant money by the city's police and fire departments.

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.