Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District Extinguishes Barge Fire After Independence Day Pyrotechnics Show

Fire District’s Marine 24 responds to 30-foot tall blaze following ‘Lights on the Lake’ event.
SUPERIOR, Wis. (August 23, 2018) – One of three barges from which fireworks were launched at Lake Tahoe’s “Lights on the Lake” celebration – one of the nation’s largest Independence Day fireworks displays in the nation – caught fire in the early morning hours of July 5th following the highly choreographed performance. Fortunately, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District quickly responded with Marine 24, its new Lake Assault fireboat that was recently placed into service. The fire, with flames reaching an estimated 30-feet tall, was extinguished in six minutes.
The barge that caught fire was a floating 20-foot by 60-foot wooden platform supported by aluminum pontoons. “After the show, the fireworks team was routinely checking for unspent shells and they noticed there was a small fire on deck,” said Tahoe Douglas Fire Marshal Eric Guevin. “They put it out with their water can and then returned to the main barge. Shortly thereafter a call came into the department and it turned out to be a much larger fire on the same barge.”
In a matter of only a few minutes, Marine 24 and its crew of four firefighters arrived. By that time, however, flames were 30-feet tall and the barge was fully involved. “It was a pretty bad situation, but the fireboat got there quickly and was able to extinguish the roaring blaze in no time,” recalled Guevin. “Our firefighters used its 1500 gpm pump supplying a rooftop monitor and twin deck guns to quickly knockdown and suppress the flames.”
With the barge anchored a half mile offshore, no structures or trees were in danger, but there were other important considerations. “We didn’t want the barge to sink, obviously, because that would have been an environmental disaster in this fragile ecosystem,” explained Guevin. “There was no way,” he added, “we could have put the fire out without the new fireboat. Several engine companies were on shore, but there wasn’t anything they could do. They just basically watched.”
Referencing an innovative fee-for-service program through which membership fees are collected, and the donations that, in part, funded the department’s acquisition of Marine 24, Guevin said, “It was a very good outcome for everyone concerned.”
Photo Caption: One of three barges from which fireworks were launched at Lake Tahoe’s “Lights on the Lake” celebration caught fire in the early morning hours of July 5th. The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District quickly responded with Marine 24, its new Lake Assault fireboat. The fire, with flames reaching an estimated 30-feet tall, was extinguished in six minutes. (Photo courtesy of TDFPD.)
About Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District
Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District (TDFPD) is an “All Risk” Department providing fire prevention, fire suppression, advanced life support, explosive ordinance disposal, forest fuels management, and emergency rescue. The dedicated professionals of TDFPD respond to approximately 2,000 emergency calls annually. The Fire District currently holds an ISO rating of 3/3Y.

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