$1.7M firefighting barge to patrol Mississippi River - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

$1.7M firefighting barge to patrol Mississippi River

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Memphis firefighters have a new tool to fight fires in the Bluff City, and it didn't cost taxpayers a dime.

Thursday afternoon Memphis Fire Department unleashed its newest piece of firefighting equipment.

"It just gives us one extra layer of protection in the city of Memphis," Special Operations Battalion Chief Colin Burress said.

The new tool is a $1.7 million barge floating on the Mississippi River. 

Click here to see pictures of the new barge.

Thanks to a grant filed by the Memphis Port Authority, the barge didn't cost Memphis taxpayers a dime.

The barge is a command center, living quarters, a life boat, and more.

The barge features water cannons that can shoot water and fire retardant chemicals at 200 gallons per second. Memphis Fire Department said that's more than enough to battle any challenge they might find on the Mississippi River.

The City of Memphis has never experienced a fire in the middle of the Mississippi River, but Burress said it's all about being proactive and prepared.

"In the event that we have an earthquake--a major earthquake--a lot of the water mains in the area wouldn't be able to be utilized," Burress said. "What we can do is pump large bodies of water from the river through the barge and basically supply downtown with the water that would be necessary."

Memphis Fire Department tells us the barge is ready to go today. It will have a four-man team on board at all times. They'll be prepared for any incident that may happen on the Mississippi River.

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