Fire and rescue boat added to PdC’s fleet

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The new 22-foot, 150-horse power fire and rescue boat was custom made by Kann Manufacturing in Guttenberg, Iowa. It features a metal sign displaying all the financial sponsors. (Photos by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

 

For its first season on the river, the Prairie du Chien Fire Department’s new fire and rescue boat has “paid for itself already,” according to Chief Tad Beutin. 

Custom-made at Kann Manufacturing in Guttenberg, Iowa, the 22-foot vessel is stable, and also quick on the water with its 150-horse power motor. It arrived in January to replace the department’s former 16-foot fishing boat that motored along at only 40 horse power. The department originally received that boat about 30 years from the local rod and gun club.

About a month ago, the watercraft was requested during an emergency situation on the river in Prairie du Chien. Beutin said they went out with seven officials and returned with eight people aboard, including the woman who they rescued. 

“It proved its purpose: the safety of the people doing the jobs of rescue and recovery,” the chief stated. “We couldn’t have done it with the old boat, at least not as smoothly.”

The fire and rescue boat has a maximum capacity of 12 passengers, including the captain. Beutin said there’s still plenty of room on board at capacity too, so there’s enough space to perform duties efficiently. The boat has a convenient and more discreet side door that opens up, where rescuers can pull individuals in from water level. It also has LED emergency lighting that really boosts visibility on the river.

“This boat is identical to the La Crosse Fire Department’s boat. It’s pretty unique to the area,” noted Deputy Chief Tim Deluhery Sr. 

He pointed out that, previously, there have been many requests from area departments for the La Crosse vessel. Now, this should fulfill that mutual aid void for the immediate area. 

The fire and rescue boat was fully funded by grants and donations, Beutin noted.

Casino Queen got the ball rolling by awarding the fire department a $20,000 grant. Additionally contributing were the Prairie du Chien Fire Association, the family of Paul Sebastian, 3M Corporation, George Family Foundation, Bass Pro/Cabela’s, Peoples State Bank, Mark and Kati Forsythe, Ameriprise Financial-Roy C. George, Community First Bank, Wolf Machine and Kwik Trip. River Town Ironworks donated a metal sign displaying names of the boat’s sponsors.

 “We were surprised and very grateful for how generous donors were,” Beutin said. 

Moving forward, the fire department would like to add a depth finder, a siren, dragging chains and other amenities to increase rescue capabilities.

The department’s old boat was donated to the Eastman Fire Department. 

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