Oldest working fireboat celebrates 116 years

OLDEST WORKING FIRE BOAT TURNS 116

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The oldest working fireboat in the world is docked right here in the Buffalo Naval Park and it is celebrating a birthday Saturday.  

Fire boat "Edward M. Cotter" turns 116 years old this month. 
 
The community came out to cut birthday cake in its honor Saturday. 
 
The event was also a fundraiser to help repair the boat with new props and shafts. 
 
Officials say they urgently need to bring the Cotter fireboat up to Coast Guard standards and keep it working for years to come. 
 
Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield says the boat may be old but age does not diminish its relevance. 
 
"We all know about the big fire we just had in Lackawanna," Commissioner Whitfield said. "One of our first strategies we considered was deploying this vessel to help mitigate that fire. Unfortunately the logistics of that fire did not allow us to do that but this is a very relevant piece of equipment. It's a piece of apparatus in the Buffalo Fire Department and continues to be that to this day."
 
In addition to firefighting, the boat plays a major role in ice breaking in the Buffalo River. This prevents flooding in towns like Cheektowaga and West Seneca. 
 
The boat was open to the public from noon to three for tours and will be open again Sunday.


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