October 25, 2011

City manager 'appalled' by boat outing

Mark Rees says the city will explore whether pilots of the fireboats should be licensed by the Coast Guard.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Ann S. Kim akim@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Roger Lehoux of Saco says the Portland fireboat he photographed Oct. 15 in late afternoon, may be the one that struck an object just before 6 p.m. that day. Lehoux says he was taking sunset pictures from Bug Light Park when the boat passed with more than 10 people on board.

Roger Lehoux photo

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Staff graphic

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"They're two decorated employees," said John Brooks, president of Local 740 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. "They're dedicated to the citizens of Portland. They'll drop what they're doing when the bell goes off and they're not going to ask questions."

It's not clear when the Coast Guard will finish the investigation it has begun. The accident, which did not involve injury, death, other vessels or the Coast Guard, is not high on the priority list, said Lt. Nick Barrow.

He said the investigation's aim is to determine whether there are hazards in the waterway that must be addressed.

"This is not the sort of investigation that is attributional," Barrow said, "or expected to be disciplinary in nature."

Roger Lehoux of Saco said he captured images of the fireboat on the day of the accident. Lehoux, a photography buff, was taking shots of the sunset and Portland Harbor from Bug Light Park in South Portland.

"I just thought it was peculiar," Lehoux said of the passengers on the fireboat. "I've seen it go out a bunch of times. I've never seen it look like a party boat."

Lehoux said he disapproves of using an emergency vehicle as a pleasure boat. He said he is a former volunteer firefighter in Sanford and a former fire brigade member at Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: akim@pressherald.com

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: gjordan@pressherald.com


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Additional Photos

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City Manager Mark Rees on Monday is discussing the details of the Oct. 15 fireboat accident. “I consider what happened ... an anomaly,” Rees said.

Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Nicole Clegg, director of communications for the city of Portland, assists City Manager Mark Rees.


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