NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — State Rep. Julie Casimiro (D-31 North Kingstown/Exeter) stopped by the North Kingstown Fire Department’s Station 1 Thursday to present Fire Chief Scott Kettelle and the department with a $20,000 legislative grant from the state to go towards repairs to the town’s rescue fire boat.
Funding for the repairs, which are estimated to cost around $100,000 to replace its engines, which has kept the vessel out of service for the past few months, was approved in a contentious 3-2 vote by the North Kingstown Town Council at a meeting on Aug. 20.
“I am pleased that the majority of the Town Council members recognized the importance of having this vessel repaired and back in the water protecting not only Wickford harbor and the Quonset/Davisville waterfront, but also protecting Narragansett Bay, our state’s greatest natural resource,” Casimiro said in a written statement.
Following the vote of approval, Casimiro went to work with State Rep. Robert Craven (D32- North Kingstown) and Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (D15- Cranston) on getting a legislative grant to alleviate some of the cost from the town’s rescue fund.
“I am also delighted to provide some relief to our taxpayers with the cost of repairs,” Casimiro said.
For Kettelle, the importance of getting the craft back on the water in a community with 1,650 pleasure craft and two busy commercial ports couldn’t be understated.
“The fire department is the first response agency for an emergency call in these waters, and whether it’s a medical emergency, a boating accident, a fire or a pollution leak… our fire boat vessel is extremely important for the protection of our waters,” Kettelle said.
He thanked the Town Council and state legislature for the help in providing funds to get the vessel back into service.
With the funding in place, Kettelle says the craft should be able to return to service in a month’s time.