Georgetown area fire departments looking for federal grants to purchase new boat

akelley@thesunnews.comOctober 25, 2013 

A fire on Georgetown's historic Front Street destroys seven buildings on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. Photo by Janet Blackmon Morgan / jblackmon@thesunnews.com

JANET BLACKMON MORGAN — jblackmon@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

Georgetown area fire departments are working together in hopes of landing grant money to purchase a new fire boat, a month after a fire burned a row of buildings in the city’s historic district.

Jackie Broach, spokeswoman for Georgetown County, said Friday that Georgetown Fire/EMS, Midway Fire Rescue and the Georgetown Fire Department are partnering to look for grant possibilities to purchase a fire boat. No funding has been committed, she said.

Georgetown Councilman Paige Sawyer said the grant the agencies are seeking is federal, but he said he didn’t have more specific information Friday. Georgetown Fire Chief Joey Tanner, who could not be reached for comment Friday, is leading the three groups in pursuing the grants, Sawyer said.

If the grant is successful and a boat is purchased, he said it would be another way for firefighters to battle blazes such as the one last month in the 700 block of Front Street that destroyed seven historic buildings and damaged another. Officials still don’t know what caused the fire that also displaced 13 people and left 130 jobless.

A new boat would be in addition to one the city already has, Sawyer said.

“The city of Georgetown does have a fire boat,” Sawyer said. “But, it wasn’t big enough to really help with this (Front Street) fire. The fire was just too large. That’s why the boat was brought up from North Charleston.”

The fire on Sept. 25, started before 6 a.m. It’s not clear when Georgetown fire officials requested help from North Charleston, but a fire boat from that city was in Georgetown around noon, officials said.

Georgetown City Council on Thursday unanimously approved Tanner’s request to seek the grant money.

“It will be very important not only for the city but for the use of the county because it would be a shared boat between the city, county and Midway,” Sawyer said. “Hopefully we wouldn’t have two fires on the water at the same time.”

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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