Iona McGregor Fire Department gets new military style boat

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LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Iona McGregor Fire Department has new life saving equipment. The department added a new military style boat, replacing their old boat of 20 years! Only WINK News was there as firefighters went through their first day of training out on the water.

“The sky’s the limit, we are very excited.”

Firefighters on the Water Operations Team with the Iona McGregor Fire Department got their first look at the department’s new boat and only WINK News cameras were on board.

“This vessel is safer, has more capacity, more capability, our capability has just gone up astronomically,” said Deputy Chief Chad Jorgensen.

This boat, very similar to what the Coast Guard uses, will be used for calls such as search and rescue situations, boat fires and for use of the dive team.

“We have the capability to show up on scene and treat someone almost like a mobile ambulance, we have monitors, drug bags, and paramedics on board,” Jorgensen told WINK News.

The time has come to retire this 26-foot Seahawk that has been in service for nearly 25 years.

“We potentially were concerned with that vessels ability to make it back to the docks.”

The price tag for the new vessel is around $330,000.

“It’s leap years in front of it, you will have a hard time taking the smile off my face,” said Jorgensen.

The cost is covered by a tax payer funded grant, the sale of the old boat and some money the department has been putting aside for the last three years.

“We got this military style vessel for less than what it would have cost to replace the old boat.”

Wednesday, was the first day behind the wheel of the boat for firefighter Kirby Bradford.

“It’s a great boat, it’s very well made, it handles well, I think it’s going to help us a lot when doing out job.”

The boat has a cabin big enough to treat a patient inside. It also had thermal imaging and a foam and water hose to put out fires. The boat will be in service starting Thursday.

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