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‘Rotted’ fireboats need replacing: Vancouver fire department 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Vancouver's fire department is trying to replace its aging fleet of fireboats, one of them is pictured fighting a marine fire, with new vessels that could be three times better than their predecessors. (PHOTO VANCOUVER FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES)

Vancouver's fire department is trying to replace its aging fleet of fireboats, one of them is pictured fighting a marine fire, with new vessels that could be three times better than their predecessors. (PHOTO VANCOUVER FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES)

Vancouver’s fire department — responsible for marine fires in Vancouver, both North Vancouver municipalities and Port Moody — is looking to get rid of its expired fireboats that are more than two decades old.

The boats are expected to be replaced by two new vessels that are easily three times better than the slowly rotting hulks the department currently works with, according to deputy fire chief Mark Engler.

“The total pump capacity would be 14,000 gallons per minute (for two new boats) as compared to the capacity of the existing five, which is less than 10,000,” he said.

“That’s like having three boats in one.”

The department’s current vessels were designed for 20 years — ideally, 15 — but have now exceeded that. However, it needs $3 million from city hall to replace its fleet.

One of the older boats has already been sold. Another is placed on reserve, so the department currently only has three fireboats in operation, and Engler described them as having “rotted” hulls and rare replacement parts that have to be custom machined.

“Right now, when we respond to any known fire in the port, I have to respond with two boats because of their (low) pumping capacity,” Engler said.

“They’re not pumping enough water per se for a larger fire.”

The new vessels would be faster, larger and more capable of handling rougher seas, he said.

 

 

 

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