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Coeur d'Alene Fire Department's boathouse arrives at its final destination after 8-hour journey

The site will provide easier access and quicker responses to central locations on the north end of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Credit: CDA Press

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The Coeur d'Alene Fire Department's new boathouse is in place at the Third Street docks next to Tubbs Hill, as reported by our news partners, the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Now, all it needs is a boat, which is expected by year's end.

"It's a practical space for us," said Craig Etherton, deputy fire marshal.

The site will provide easier access and quicker responses to central locations on the north end of Lake Coeur d'Alene, like Coeur d'Alene's waterfront, and the channel leading boats to the south end of the lake.

"Most of our calls for the fire boat are around Tubbs Hill," Etherton said Wednesday.

The city has been using a Kootenai County slip at Blackwell Island, but they need the space back, Etherton said.

"They let us stay a little longer than originally planned so we could get the building finished," he said.

There are other benefits to the new site. The Blackwell Island water level sits lower and sometimes freezes over. The Third Street location is deeper and doesn't usually freeze, Etherton said.

Funding for the project was approved by the City Council more than two years ago and the boathouse expected to be in place in late 2020. But due to supply chain issues and rising construction costs attributed to COVID-19, it was delayed, Etherton said.

"We ran into the same problems everyone experienced," he said.

In 2015, the Fire Department purchased a state-of-the-art marine firefighting vessel to provide fire, rescue and EMS services to the North end of the lake.

The council initially approved up to $250,000 in impact fees for the new fire boat garage. It ended up costing about $585,000, with about $325,000 funded by impact fees and the rest coming from ignite cda, the city's urban renewal agency.

The boathouse needs finishing touches.

It must be secured with anchors, which requires a special process to protect the lake's bottom. Power remains to be connected and security cameras will be installed.

The boat house was constructed by Verdis. North Idaho Maritime built the docks and floated the house on Monday several miles from Wolf Lodge Bay to its new home. It is expected to be in service within eight weeks.

The city is working with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe on naming the boat house and will be scheduling a spring dedication.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our partners, click here.

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