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Pittsburgh accepts $542,750 bid from Superior, Wis., firm to build fireboat

NOTE: This story was originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dec. 16, 2016

By Jonathan D. Silver

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The City of Pittsburgh has accepted a proposal from a Wisconsin company to build a fireboat for more than a half-million dollars — significantly higher than the $400,000 previously allocated.

Lake Assault Boats of Superior, Wis. beat out two contenders with a bid of $542,750, the city announced.

The proposed 30-foot boat, meant to fight fires along Pittsburgh's three rivers, would be decked out with sonar, "forward-looking infrared cameras" and a state-of-the-art electronic suite. It would be able to pump 3,000 gallons of water per minute and supply water to on-shore operations.

The bid was accepted by the Public Safety Department and Bureau of Fire.

A final review by the city is necessary before the project goes forward.

The city last had a fireboat — and an inactive one at that — in 1973.

In April the city's Equipment Leasing Authority unanimously voted to allow the purchase of a fireboat for $400,000. The move was prompted by concerns about train derailments, toxic spills and blazes along the rivers.

The authority acquires, maintains, repairs and replaces the city's vehicles.

At the time, Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told the authority that the watercraft would help manage fires on waterways, waterfronts, rail lines and at marinas that are inaccessible from land.

— Copyright (c)2016 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.