NEBCO Fire Department’s New Boat To Better Help Beaver Lake Patrons

GARFIELD (KFSM)-- The Northeast Arkansas Benton County Fire Department received their new $375,000 boat that will help protect those out on Beaver Lake.

This new boat was built in Seattle, Washington per NEBCO Fire Chief Rob Taylor's specifications.

It has the traits of an ambulance and a fire truck.

Taylor said this will change how they respond to certain calls.

Before the new boat, they had to wait until a patient came to them before they could start treatment.

“Now we have the capability of our ambulance crew boarding, with our equipment going to the situation whatever it might be on the water," Taylor said.

Crews can also hook up a fire hose to the boat, run it to a truck on land and pump water to the truck during a fire.

This new piece of equipment replaces the department's old boat that was built around 1973.

They pulled it out of the water a year ago, but realized it was too damaged.

Taylor said it also was not built for what they need.

That is when he started searching for a replacement.

He found a company in Washington that was able to provide exactly what they were looking for.

Taylor said it was tough finding a used boat like this and if they hadn't been able to find one or get one made, they would not have had anything.

“We would not have sunk the money that it would have cost to fix that boat there," Taylor said. "We would be without a boat today.”

Taylor said though as he flew to Seattle for a final inspection of the boat not long ago, he was in awe at what was happening.

Most of the money the department used to pay for the boat came from donations from the public.

Taylor said the boat would not have been possible without the help of the community.

All he could say to those who helped was thank you.

"This will, again, help us be able to provide a much needed better service when that situation happens on the lake," Taylor said.

He plans to put the boat in the water in about a week.

That is also when he plans to start training his crews on the new ride.