Leary Foundation Donates Fire Boat to Boston Department

Stand-up comedian and actor Denis Leary, best known for his heated series "Rescue Me," is donating a new high-speed fire boat to the Boston Fire Department tomorrow in hopes it will assist Boston firefighters in rescuing others.

The 27-foot Vigilant, a modified Boston Whaler, comes to the Hub as a gift of the Leary Firefighters Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides funding and resources to fire departments in Massachusetts and New York.

"When we are able to have a positive impact on the lives of firefighters and help to ensure that they return home to their families each night, we know that we have accomplished our mission," said Leary, who lost firefighter friends and relatives in the 1999 Worcester warehouse fire and the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City.

One-third the size and three times faster than Boston's current 30-year-old fire boat, the Vigilant is equipped with four searchlights, 450 horsepower, GPS, radar, and a pump capable of delivering 780 gallons of water per minute. With a low profile and shallow draft, the Vigilant is unsinkable and can easily maneuver through and around piers, docks, and channels with ease, giving first response teams the ability to operate faster and more safely than ever before.

"This important gift from The Leary Firefighters Foundation will have a huge impact on the ability of the Boston Fire Department to protect Boston's harbor and the citizens of our city safely and swiftly," said Kevin P. MacCurtain, acting commissioner of the Boston Fire Department.

The Vigilant will be renamed "The Norman Knight," after the philanthropist who founded the Boston Chapter of the 100 Club, a national charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Republished with permission of The Boston Herald.