Glade VFD: We’re going to need a different boat

Times Observer file photo In this file photo from June 22, 2019, members of the Glade Volunteer Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team head up Brokenstraw Creek to bring three men to safety in the department’s 16-foot John boat. The department is trying to raise funds for a newer used boat more suited to the type of rescues they perform. There will be a flea market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 20, at Station 2, across from the drivers license center on Hatch Run Road.

When someone is in trouble on the water in Warren County, the Glade Swiftwater Rescue Team gets a call.

In fact, the team is a regional asset, responding well outside the confines of the county wherever and whenever needed.

The techs on the team specialize, and have supplemental training, in water rescue, ice rescue, and advanced lines.

Most of the time, a boat is a necessary component in the team’s efforts. And not just any boat.

The inflatable Sillinger with a 35-horsepower engine that the department has is about ideal for swiftwater rescue — but it has a lot of wear and tear on it.

“The Sillinger boat’s old,” Glade Swiftwater Tech Daryl Kittell said. “It’s in need of repair.”

Repairs would keep the boat going in the short-run, but “we should probably update it.”

The department doesn’t have its sights set on a brand new boat.

“We’re buying a newer used boat,” Kittell said. “We’re trying to be practical. We’re trying to raise enough money to put towards it.”

To that end, the department will hold a flea market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 20, at Station 2, across from the drivers license center on Hatch Run Road.

“We’re doing a flea market, trying to sell some spots and build up some revenue,” Kittell said.

Vendor stalls at 10-by-10 and 10-by-20 are available.

“You can bring anything you want and sell it,” he said.

There will be other fund-raisers going on during the flea market.

The department hopes this event will give it a good step toward defraying the cost of the new boat.

In full, the department hopes to raise close to $20,000.

“Every little bit helps, especially in a volunteer organization,” Kittell said.

In addition to the Sillinger, the department has a 16-foot John boat that is not well-suited to rescue work, and a smaller Aquos inflatable it uses for training and recovery.

Until recently, the department had a much larger craft. Early this month, the department gave a boat to the Erie Fire Department.

That boat, a 27-foot Pro-Line cruiser, is suited to patrol and transport on a large body of water like the Allegheny Reservoir or Lake Erie, Kittell said. It is not designed as a rescue boat.

It made sense for Glade to give it to a department that could put it to appropriate use rather than continue to maintain it and almost never use it.

“Most of our rescues are done on the river,” Kittell said. When there is call for work on the reservoir, the Sillinger, or a boat like it, is not as fast as the cruiser, but is better suited to the type of work.