Vancouver accepts grant to buy fire boat

County, Port of Astoria will also get boats

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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Three new Quick Response Vessels will be responding to emergencies on the Columbia River, thanks to a federal grant that the Vancouver City Council unanimously voted to accept on Monday.

The Vancouver Fire Department, which currently uses an old patrol boat not equipped to fight fires, will get a Type IV vessel, which will be equipped to handle fires, medical calls, chemical spills and technical rescues. Clark County Fire & Rescue and the Port of Astoria will each receive a Type V vessel.

The three agencies, backed by the Coast Guard, successfully made the case to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its Port Security Grant Program, that three new vessels would close safety and security gaps identified by the Coast Guard.

Division of money

Out of the total $2.6 million grant, $1.8 million will go to Vancouver. That will cover the cost of the vessel, training and the administration of the grant, as the city will manage the funds for the two other agencies.

The vessels for Clark County Fire & Rescue and the Port of Astoria are estimated to cost between $356,000 and $376,000 each.

A requirement for matching grant funds was waived.

The city council accepted the grant Monday without comment.

To help with annual operations and maintenance costs, 80 community partners have pledged $380,000 over the next decade, Vancouver Fire Department Division Chief Stephen Eldred told councilors at an earlier meeting.

That figure includes a one-time payment from Clark County Fire District 5 of $200,000.

The fire department started the grant application process in 2009.

The city will put out a call for bids to build the vessel. Once a bid is awarded, it will take about a year to get the Vancouver vessel in the water.


Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.