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Rhode Island firefighters get training on boatyard fires

The program comes just ahead of the annual Newport International Boat Show, which opens Thursday.

Twenty-six firefighters from the Newport (R.I.) Fire Department are receiving two days of special training today and Wednesday on fighting fires aboard yachts and ships, and in marinas and yacht yards.

The program comes just ahead of the annual Newport International Boat Show, which opens Thursday and will be hosted by AIG’s Private Client Group, which insures many yachts in Newport, Resolve Maritime Academy, a leader in yacht and shipboard firefighter training, and the Newport Shipyard.

Retired Navy firefighter Tom Jones will lead the program, which includes classroom instruction and a private yacht facility tour. The hosts said the program is the only one of its kind in the nation.

Yacht fires in marinas or boatyards are typically fought by firefighters who have been trained to fight fires in buildings and homes. Yacht and marina fires have distinct characteristics with a potential to rapidly spread to adjacent yachts in high-concentration facilities.

Inherent problems exist when fighting yacht fires with water because specialized techniques are required. A sinking yacht could cause higher losses and pollution-related expenses.

The training follows Newport City Council’s decision to accept a federal grant to buy a new CRBNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive) fire/rescue boat.

Portsmouth, Providence and North Kingstown are the only first responders on Narragansett Bay that have a boat with firefighting capabilities.

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