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Portland commissions new fireboat

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Portland commissions new fireboat

PORTLAND — City officials and Fire Department personnel gathered along the waterfront Monday morning to officially welcome the city's new fireboat, City of Portland IV, into service.

The $3.2 million boat was built in Nova Scotia at the A.F. Theriault & Son boatyard and was delivered to Portland at the end of July. The Fire Department has been putting the boat through sea trials for the past two months.

"It is wonderful to see the new fireboat combines the latest in medical, emergency technology and seaworthiness," said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who helped secure $1 million in funding for the boat.

Collins said she committed herself to finding federal funds for a new fireboat in 2002, following a trip on the City of Portland III, which the new boat replaced.

"(Fire Chief) Fred (Lamontagne) took me out on the fireboat," Collins recalled. "I don't know if that was designed to scare me ... but it had the effect. You could see water through the sides and bottom of the boat."

When it was commissioned in 1959, the City of Portland III was supposed to have a  20-year life span. It was still the city's primary fireboat when it turned 50 this spring.

The City of Portland IV cruised in the harbor off of Compass Park at the Maine State Pier Monday morning, shooting water into the air as the commissioning ceremony took place.

The new boat can reach 17 knots and has a medical bay designed like an ambulance, making it familiar for emergency personnel. 

In addition to the $1 million in federal funding, the boat was paid for with a $450,000 Homeland Security grant and $1.75 million in city funds that were allocated from 2002 to 2005.

City of Portland IV joins the city's smaller fireboat, Joseph C. Cavallaro, in protecting the waterfront and islands.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net