January 15, 2007

The Portsmouth Fire Department demonstrates their new Fire Boat 1 in the Piscataqua River basin Wednesday. The high speed fireoat with high voume pumping and rescue capabilities was made possible through a Homeland Security Grant Program. Photo by Rich Beauchesne

Fast, furious fireboat

By Karen Dandurant

PORTSMOUTH -- The newest vehicle for the Fire Department is not a truck; it is a boat.

Fire Boat 1 is the Firestorm-30 , an open-ocean and inshore high-speed fireboat with high-volume pumping and rescue capabilities. It is 33 feet, 5 inches in length and is powered by twin 380-horsepower Cummins diesel engines that drive two Hamilton water jets.

The firefighting capabilities of the boat include one master stream, two 2.5 inch discharges for hand lines, and one 5 inch discharge to supply land-based operations. The fire pump on the boat is capable of flowing more than 1,500 gallons per minute.

The boat can perform in shallow draft conditions and is able to maneuver in tight harbors. It is capable of operating in inclement conditions, including driving rain and dense fog.

"She can crawl sideways," said Deputy Chief Steve Achilles. "She can stop and turn on a dime. It can do collision avoidance maneuvers."

A demonstration of the boat proved the avoidance effective. It came to a dead stop and made quick, hard turns.

The $350,000 boat was fully funded by the fiscal year 2005 Homeland Security Grant Program with the support of Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu and Rep. Jeb Bradley, along with the Portsmouth Fire Department Fire Commission, the Portsmouth City Council and City Manager John Bohenko.

Read the whole story .

Related: See also the Portsmouth Fire Department's press release .

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