PdC Fire Department raising funds for a new fire/rescue boat

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Prairie du Chien Fire Department is raising funds to buy a new fire/rescue boat and equipment, which it hopes to have in the next month.

“The boat is being custom built by Kann Manufacturing Corporation of Guttenberg,” said Prairie du Chien Fire Chief Tad Beutin, who noted the boat will be 22 feet long, relatively wide and have a 150 horse power motor. 

“This boat will be a lot safer than the jon boat we have now,” said Beutin. “This boat is going a long way for the safety of our firefighters on the river.” He said the new boat will provide an excellent working platform and is much more stable than the current boat.

Beutin said the new boat will be aluminum and have plenty of room for a crew of four as well as equipment. Part of the boat’s railing can be taken down to help pull a person aboard more easily.

The boat can be used to tow a disabled boat to shore, to rescue people in the water and to put out fires. It will have fire extinguishers and recovery and rescue items. A floating pump with a 1 3/4 diameter line can also be deployed to help put out fires.

Several firefighters will be trained so they can receive their Coast Guard certification in order to pilot the boat. “There has been a lot of interest in piloting the boat,” said Beutin. The boat drafts fairly shallow and there will be training on the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. Beutin said operations on the Wisconsin River will be for mutual aid.

The boat will cost $58,000, and another $40,000 is needed for side scan sonar and other recovery and rescue items. Beutin said about $45,000 has been raised through numerous donations and grants. The largest donors to date include 3M, Community First Bank, Peoples State Bank, and the Casino Queen. 

Future fundraising events include the Flea Market on St. Feriole Island from Sept. 17-20, and the Christmas Tree Sale beginning Nov. 27.  

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