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Sandy Point Fire gains a firefighting & rescue craft

Fishing vessel fire off West Beach (Sandy Point) (August 11, 2016). Photo: Dinah McAbee

Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery recently replaced a 21-foot Boston Whaler boat and donated it to Whatcom County Fire District 17 (Sandy Point) during a brief presentation ceremony this afternoon at the Sandy Point Marina.

“The fire district is in need of a boat to assist with off-shore emergencies in the Sandy Point area, hence the in-kind donation,” said Josh Summers, Phillips 66 public affairs director.

Whatcom County Fire District 17 Fire Chief Jim Petrie pointed to examples of how, in 2016, his responders could have used a waterborne vessel during their emergency response.

“Last summer alone there were three incidents right off of the Sandy Point peninsula where boats were either sinking or caught fire,” said Petrie. “Firefighters were called but had to watch helplessly from the beach.”

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Had they been equipped, Petrie said, a boat could have been deployed to rescue the patients in the water sooner and extinguish fires. In addition, the fire district responds to fuel spills in the canal areas. The boat will provide responders with an easier way to contain fuel spills.

The donated boat will be retrofitted with light rescue and firefighting equipment along with fire service radio equipment. The district planned to fund some of these modifications and seek grant funding for the rest but they got a pleasant surprise during today’s presentation. Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery Manager Jolie Rhinehart announced they would cover the costs of retrofitting the boat.

WCFD17 firefighters will undergo training on the boat’s operations by local Coast Guard.

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