- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) - Firefighters in the southwestern Indiana city of Vincennes are pushing ahead with public appeals for help toward buying a boat for water rescues on the Wabash River even though donations have been coming in slowly.

City firefighters started a fundraising campaign last summer, aiming to collect $50,000 to buy a rescue boat, a paired inflatable boat, a trailer and related equipment. Fire Chief Sonny Pinkstaff said only about $10,000 has been collected so far, but that he remains optimistic about reaching the goal.

City firefighters will soon undergo several days of water rescue training with Department of Natural Resources staffers, the Vincennes Sun-Commercial reported (http://bit.ly/1lXdWcN).

Pinkstaff said the firefighters will learn about swift and calm water rescues, using ropes, tying knots and shoreline rescues.

“This is how we’re going to start, with everybody learning and training the same,” he said. “And this way we’ll be ready to go when we are able to buy that boat.”

Officials have said the rescue boat could be needed in times of flooding and other situations in the city along the Wabash River about 50 miles north of Evansville. Another Knox County fire department owns a similar rescue boat, but city officials say it is stored too far away to be much use in an emergency on the city’s stretch of the river.

Battalion Chief Tony Jarrell, who is heading up the fundraising driver, said donors have included individuals and veterans organizations and that he’s checking on grant possibilities.

Jarrell said no one he’s talked with has denied the city needs a rescue boat.

“It’s been nickels and dimes, so to speak,” Jarrell said. “But we’re not giving up by any means. We’ll get there.”

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, http://www.vincennes.com

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