- Associated Press - Sunday, August 30, 2015

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) - Firefighters in the southwestern Indiana city of Vincennes are asking the public to help raise money to buy a boat for water rescues on the Wabash River.

Fire Department Battalion Chief Tony Jarrell is leading the fundraising effort that he’s dubbed “Float the Boat.” He hopes to raise $50,000 to buy a rescue boat and a paired inflatable boat within the next three months.

“People are always amazed that we don’t already have a boat. That remark has been made to me numerous times,” Jarrell told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial (https://bit.ly/1JjIjQ7).

Jarrett said it’s “humbling” to ask the public for money, but the boats are needed in times of flooding and other situations in the city that’s along the Wabash River about 50 miles north of Evansville.

He said money also will help in purchasing a trailer to pull the boats and for dive vests for the eight firefighters who will be trained as divers.

The Knox County Emergency Management Agency owns a similar rescue boat and an inflatable boat, but they’re stored too far from the river to be much use.

“Time is of the essence, just as it is with any emergency,” Jarrett said.

The department’s firefighters believe they need a new rescue boat that would be kept near the river and another boat in the county that can be used for pond or lake-based rescues. Tim Smith, chief of the Vincennes Township Fire Department, agrees that would speed along rescues.

“In the event of a flood, where you have several residents that need to be evacuated, you’re going to need more than one,” he said.

Vincennes Fire Chief Sonny Pinkstaff hopes the public dips into their wallets to help give firefighters another tool to respond in emergencies.

“We have the river, and having a boat as close to it as possible, always ready to go, just makes sense,” Pinkstaff said. “If we do, we can have a boat in the water in five to ten minutes, and that means a whole lot to someone hanging onto a branch or worse.”


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

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