New boat will help fight fires in Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

New boat will help fight fires in Lake Tahoe

Staff Report
editor@sierrasun.com

Marine 24 has the capacity to act as a fire engine on the water by using the lake to provide direct fire suppression.

With Lake Tahoe’s narrow roads and more than 120 homes without access to fire hydrants, it’s critical to have a source of water when disaster strikes.

Tahoe Douglas firefighters welcomed a new tool that will enhance their ability to fight fires and respond to marine rescues.

The new boat, Marine 24, has the capacity to act as a fire engine on the water by using the lake to provide direct fire suppression.

“This boat is like a floating fire engine or fire hydrant on the water, with a full spectrum of the latest technology to aid in saving lives and protecting property,” “We really needed this type of apparatus to meet the code requirements and provide for fire protection,” Fire Marshal Eric Guevin said.

With increasingly larger homes being built closer together, a fire at one residence could threaten many others. That’s particularly true of 128 residences within the fire district that lack access to a municipal water system and a fire hydrant.

The fire district hired an independent third-party fire engineer to evaluate the situation and provide possible strategies to address the issues. The new fire boat was recommended by the fire engineer. The district’s Board of Trustees approved the fireboat purchase as a means of addressing the issue until more permanent upgrades to the water systems can be planned and funded.

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“A comprehensive plan has been developed to aid firefighting in these areas without traditional fire suppression water supply,” Fire Chief Scott Baker said in the release. “Currently we would send fire engines and a water tender to a fire event, all which can carry a very limited supply of water to the scene.

“The new boat will give our firefighters access to a much larger water supply pumped from the lake in a safe and ecological manner,” Baker added. “This new capability will directly save life, property and our precious Lake Tahoe environment from catastrophic fire damage.”

The district has responded to 17 fire and rescue incidents on the lake over the last two years. These included a fire aboard the Tahoe Queen and a dangerous water rescue that occurred when a boat sank in the dark of night leaving four young tourists clinging to an ice chest in the middle of the lake.

Marine 24 was designed with touchscreen GPS, sonar, chart plotting 4G radar, remote controlled forward looking infrared system and a hydraulically operated bow door for water rescue efforts, according to the district. The boat cost nearly $500,000.

It was built by Lake Assault Boats in its Superior, Wisconsin shipyard. A committee of employees worked with the manufacturer over the past two years to design a boat that meets the district’s specifications.