New Rochelle Fire Department Helps Protect the Waterfront

Water-related emergencies can be tricky to work, union official said.

New Rochelle's over 9 miles of shoreline have to be protected by someone.

Who better than the New Rochelle Fire Department and the New Rochelle Police Department?

With dozen marinas and docking facilities for about 1,500 boats, not to mention parks, restaurants and shops, there are bound to be emergencies.

And emergencies there have been:

"The taxpayers in New Rochelle get a lot for their money," said Byron Gray, president of the New Rochelle Uniformed Fire Fighters Association. "A lot of people don't realize that fire fighters protect the waterfront too."

He said it was just one more dimension of the training that fire fighters do for the benefit of the residents.

"It's all about public safety," Gray said.

He said the water-related calls are usually labor intensive.

"No two are the same," Gray said.

There have been cars driving in the water at launching docks, fires at Glen Island Casino and several extremely large boat fire, he said.

"You may be surrounded by water, but water is not always available" to fight the fire," Gray said.

The Huguenot Yacht Club fire from April 2011 proved to be tricky because of low pressure from nearby hydrants. Fire fighters had to stretch a fire hose from Pelham Road and Weyman Avenue all the way down the Glen Island approach road.

The fire fighters are trained in water rescues and boat fires, Gray said.

The department has small boats, like Kodiaks, but he said they aren't carried on every rig.

Nor does the department have a fire boat.

The New Rochelle Police Department has a boat, which the fire department relies on, along with a couple of other boats at the municipal marine, for transport.

Gray said not having a fire boat is a concern in the grand scheme of things.

"But with the city's budgetary issues, it's probably prohibitive," he said.

William Demarest July 06, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Be safe out there on the water!


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