Metropolitan Police Department surveillance vide of Fireboat John H. Glenn Jr. being struck by the Spirit of Washington on January 31, 2009.
Last week we showed you the impact of a major city failing to provide adequate firefighting cability on its waterfront. The bad publicity from the fire department being unable to extinguish a burning yacht at its Dockside community has forced government officials in Melbournce, Australia to address the issue. In Washington, DC, an IG investigation has focused on a similar lack of resources and warns the city may not be prepared for a major waterfront emergency.
The Washington Examiner reports that the DC Fire and EMS Department’s 50-year-old Fireboat John H. Glenn Jr. has been neglected and is obsolete. Reporter Liz Farmer cites a preliminary report from the Office of The Inspector General that indicates the diminished capabilites impact the nation’s capital’s abililty to repond to a terrorist attack on water.
In 2003 I took a ride on the John H. Glenn Jr. during an ice-breaking mission.
The report also says the fire department has not made plans to replace the boat. FDNY launched the boat in 1962 and DC put it in service in 1977.
When asked about the report, at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson, said the findings showed the District did “not have the same capabilities” as other major cities. The report notes Boston and San Francisco both applied for federal grant money to update their fleets with boats that are faster and pump twice as much water.
“There’s no reason why, as the nation’s capital, that we don’t have the best in any apparatus for fire and rescue,” said Mendelson, whose committee oversees the city’s Fire and EMS Department.
The department has until Monday to issue its response to the inspector general and a spokesman last week did not return requests for comment
On January 31, 2009 the Glenn’s hull was severely damaged when it was struck by the dinner cruise ship Spirit of Washington (see video above). The fireboat is the primary vessel used for ice breaking on the Potomac during the winter months.
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Also on STATter911 …
- Caught on camera: DC police boat wipes out two docked at Georgetown’s Washington Harbor. – September 1, 2013
- DC Mayor’s spokesman: ‘previous administration left city unprepared’ and says fire department was ‘neglected’. – March 18, 2013
- DC Update: Police union says no to Mayor Gray’s event because of fire chief’s White House flap. Councilmember wants IG to probe cadet harassment charge. – February 26, 2013
- UPDATE – IG report on reserve fleet has columnist again asking what did the fire chief know & when did he know it? – March 22, 2013
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