MILFORD, Maine — Firehouse Subs has awarded the Milford Fire Department with a grant for a $17,000 rescue boat.
Milford Fire Chief Joshua Mailman said the rescue boat has a rigid hull with Hypalon tubing on the sides. The motor is a four-stroke 40HP Tohatsu outboard jet drive that is designed to be more versatile for the conditions that are often found in the Penobscot River.
Milford firefighters and rescue crews took the new watercraft out on the Penobscot River Monday night to check out the handling and get familiar with the boat.
"I was extremely surprised and happy for the town of Milford and its citizens to get this grant," said Milford Deputy Chief Chris Liepold. “This opens up a multitude of possibilities as far as river rescue and our ability to get into more locations. The Penobscot River can be treacherous in various locations so having the access that we can in this particular watercraft is going to greatly enable our ability to be able to provide services that we couldn’t provide previous to that.”
“So, it’s a jet drive instead of a typical motor that has the prop on the bottom. The jet drive takes water in through the bottom of the motor and forces it out the back which makes it so we don’t have to worry about the propeller hitting rocks or anything like that and it allows us to go in too much shallower water and not have to worry about damaging our motor," added Mailman.
Mailman said over the next few weeks, fire and rescue personnel and mutual aid partners will be out conducting in-service training on the boat, to familiarize themselves with how the boat handles and its capabilities, so they can be prepared for any emergency that may develop in the community.
“We work together with our mutual aid counterparts Orono, Old Town, Milford, Bradley, Greenfield, and Greenbush area and we all work together as a cohesive unit especially with a long stretch of the Penobscot River that we all occupy. So, mutual aid is an important component in that," said Liepold.
The chief says the only expenses for the department will be a new boat trailer, a 2-way radio, a spotlight for working in the dark, and lettering on the side of the boat— which will include Firehouse Subs.