New York State Senator Pete Harckham announced this week that he has secured a $100,000 state grant to help the Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department purchase a new fireboat to replace an existing vessel in its marine operations that was retired last summer after 30 years of service. Harckham made the announcement at the Harmon Firehouse with firefighting officials and local elected leaders in attendance.
“As more residents take to area waterways for recreation, the need for greater protection capabilities grows as well,” said Harckham. “The Croton Fire Department responds to emergencies both inland and on the Hudson River all year long, and so I was pleased to be able to help them attain state funding for the new fireboat, which will protect the public while easing the burden on the local taxpayers as well.”
The Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department operates three marine units: a fireboat and two inflatable rafts, one of which operates with an outboard motor. The rafts patrol and respond to emergencies on the Croton River and in the Croton Reservoir. The larger fireboat, equipped with a powerful water cannon to fight onboard boat fires and blazes along the shoreline, is used on the Hudson River, where the department will respond to incidents stretching from the Bear Mountain Bridge to the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
“With more than four miles of a river to protect at its widest point, and incidents involving motorboats, sailboats and personal watercrafts on the rise, we need a vessel that can handle every emergency imaginable,” said John M. Munson, chief on the Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department. “This grant will allow us to replace a fireboat no longer in service, and we are thankful to Senator Harckham for supporting the purchase of this important public safety resource.”
Chief Munson noted that the Croton fireboat normally responds to about 20 serious incidents on the Hudson each year, and regularly joins rivertown fire departments and the Westchester County Public Safety Department on mutual aid calls.
“Our village residents and many others will be well-served by a new fireboat with state-of-the-art functions and capabilities,” said Croton-on-Hudson Mayor Brian Pugh. “Being able to respond quickly to boating emergencies on the Hudson River, as well as to fires along the river, will potentially save lives and protect businesses and properties.”
In looking for a new fireboat for the village, Chris Colombo, 2nd Assistant Chief of the Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department, noted that the vessel needs to be able to handle the many different boating conditions found on the Hudson River in all kinds of weather, and be able to pump water on fires.
“With any call of distress on the river, we need to be able to respond immediately,” Colombo added.
The expected cost for the new fireboat is expected to be $550,000, with the village covering the total excluding the state grant—“A real generational investment,” said Len Simon, a village trustee.
The awarded grant funding was secured within the State and Municipal Facilities Program (SAM), which is among the grant programs administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) to support community and economic development. Harckham has secured more than $700,000 of state grant funding for firefighters in the 40th Senate District since 2019.