New Fire Boat Controls Flames at N.C. Home


Fire caused serious damage to a home under construction on Lake Norman.

Someone across the lake spotted the flames on Norman Shores Drive in Cornelius around 1:15 a.m. Friday.

For the first time, Cornelius firefighters used a new fire boat to get the flames under control.

The boat arrived on the scene shortly after the call came in, and firefighters then attached a hose to it and started pumping 2,400 gallons of water per minute onto the flames.

“A fire this big overwhelms the domestic supply from the fire hydrants, so we use this -- a fire hydrant with an endless supply of water,” Capt. Greg Shaner said.

Shaner said the $400,000 boat has been in service since August 2010. It helped in water rescues this summer, but this was the first fire.

The boat has sonar that covers 100 feet on either side to find objects underwater.

“It acts just like a flashlight,” Shaner said. “If you shine it on something, it casts a shadow. Our sonar does the same thing.”

The boat also has weather radar and navigation for calls like the one on Friday morning.

“(It was the) middle of the night, dark (and the) wind (was) blowing,” Shaner said. “There are no street lights or street signs.”

Thirty-five gallons of fire retardant foam is stored in the boat’s hull. Another unique feature is that the boat is jet-powered and can go in very shallow water.

A large area being added to the home on Norman Shores Drive was gutted in the early morning fire. The fire marshal is still investigating the cause.

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