By Bethany Anderson
The Elk Mills Poga Volunteer Fire Department would like to add another layer of protection to their fire department in the form of a fireboat. The boat would be a part of the Johnson County Fire Department equipment but would be stationed at Pioneer Landing Marina with nearby Lakeshore Marina having already agreed to do any needed services for the boat.
Benefits to our area would be many. The proposed boat would be equipped with a mounted pump, “deck gun,” as well as a portable floating pump. The boat will also have a first responder medical bag and AED. With the additional benefit of the fireboat also being able to fill tanker trucks closer to fires that are not on the lake.
According to Mark Dunn from the Poga Volunteer Fire Department, “Having a boat in the water at this end of Watauga Lake should help to speed the response times to lakeside fires.” Adding, “The damage to marina fires such as that to Lakeshore Marina in 2007 and Fish Springs Marina in 2012 could be reduced significantly.”
A 27-foot Maycraft boat that fits all of their needs has been located for sale at a reasonable price, and they are currently in agreement with the boat’s owner on a purchase price.
Officials said that the main pump, floating pump, and additional equipment (including lights, paint, etc.) would be supplied by the Elk Mills Poga Fire Dept at no additional charge.
As of now, they have only raised $275 of the needed $25,000 but are hopeful that they will gain more donations with community involvement once those in our area are informed.
Dunn said, “We will be doing fundraising events in the near future at Pioneer Landing and Elk Mills VFD. But we also hope people donate through our GFM link.” The group has set up a GoFundMe page which can be found at: gofundme.com/elk-mills-poga-vfd-fireboat