The Boston Fire Department reports it's just signed a contract for a wicked fast new fireboat. The $4.2-million aluminum John S. Damrell (named after the fire department's chief engineer during the Great Fire of 1872) will be able to pump 12,000 gallons of water per minute - when it's not racing somewhere at speeds of up to 35 knots (40 m.p.h.).
The 69-foot Damrell is also designed to respond to biological, chemical and even radioactive attacks, according to the department. It's being built by Metalcraft Marine, Inc. of Kingston, Ont., and is expected in Boston Harbor in August, 2011.
About half the money for the boat comes from federal stimulus funds; the rest from the city. The Damrell will replace a boat in service since 1972.