Denver fire officials hope to cut down on their agency’s response time to water emergencies with the recent purchase of a permanent Lincoln County docking location for their marine firefighting and rescue boat.
Prior to obtaining the nearly 0.3-acre lot on Lake Norman, fire crews stationed Fire Boat 13 at an out-of-jurisdiction location off Slanting Bridge Road in Catawba County, according to an agency press release.
The vessel will be the only fire boat stationed along the Lincoln County shoreline and will also be used to respond to water and shoreline emergencies in neighboring counties that line the lake, Public Information Officer Dion Burleson told the Times-News on Tuesday.
During the purchasing process, fire officials said they spoke and met with numerous residents in the area who agreed with the agency’s decision to acquire the dock, which attaches to a covered shoreline spot where fire crews can do maintenance work and command their men during a large-scale lake emergency.
Buying a dock proved much cheaper for the department’s budget than paying lease on another site, Burleson said.
On Monday, the Lake Norman Marine Commission in Mooresville unanimously approved the department’s request to purchase the dock.
Due to Lake Norman regulations, the specialty boat could not be docked with other boats, Burleson said.
The North Carolina Department of Insurance must first inspect and certify the boat as a “fire-rescue vessel” and the dock as a “special-use” location for the Lincoln County agency before the agency can use their water transportation inside the fire district, the release said.
Once certified, a process that may take up to several months, emergency crews will be allowed to use the fire boat as a water supply source for properties located within 1,000 feet of land, fire officials said.
Denver Volunteer Fire Department purchased the unique vessel in May 2010 and has been looking for a permanent docking location ever since. Firefighters plan to utilize the vessel for assistance with multiple water emergencies included but not limited to boating fires and accidents, drownings and land fires in which no road access is available to the site, Burleson said.
The boat, which can hold up to 15 people at a time including six critically-injured victims, contains a variety of effective gadgets including a 2,000-gallon-per-minute water pump for extinguishing fires, an onboard thermal imaging camera for spotting victims in the water after dark, underwater sonar imaging for quickly locating individuals submerged under water and onboard connections for other special search-and-rescue technology, Burleson said.
Fire officials anticipate the new dock location cutting response time by up to 10 minutes since one of the department’s substations sits just two-and-a-half miles down the road.
Denver VFD is headquartered on N.C. 16 with one substation each on Kidville Road and Tree Farm Lane. For more information, call the main station at (704) 483-5115 or visit denvervfd.com.