MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Four inflatables, 6-wheelers, a heavy rescue truck and a very nice-looking dive and rescue boat. No wonder Montgomery firefighters were all smiles as they showed off their newest firefighting and rescue equipment at the riverfront in downtown Montgomery.
The biggest 'toy' is the $200,000 plus dive and rescue boat that's also capable of hosing down a burning house boat on the water some 60 feet away.
"We felt helpless in a way that we didn't have the right equipment," said Asst. Chief William Davis.
A case in point; firefighters could have used more inflatables during last year's flash-flood.
"We would have been able to put people in less harm's way. They were wading in and this would have given them some protection," said Mayor Todd Strange.
On the surface you would think the very small number of calls the fire department gets every year on the river wouldn't justify the cost of buying the boat. Chief Miford Jordan disagrees. The riverfront is still being developed, meaning more activity, more chances of something happening.
"It has enough space where we can launch a dive team. What we're trying to do is be more pro-active," said Jordan.
Now more than the Montgomery Fire Department feels it's better prepared to handle future emergencies on the river or on land, calls for help that often come without a moment's notice.
The equipment was purchased through a federal grants and some reconfiguration of the fire department's budget.