New fireboat honors fallen firefighter

April 19, 2011 9:49:56 AM PDT
The Chicago Fire Department has a new weapon in its arsenal to battle fires, and it's also paying tribute to a fallen firefighter.

The Chicago Fire Department's new fireboat arrived at Navy Pier early Tuesday morning.

Despite the raw rainy weather, the fireboat made it to Chicago without any problems. Coming in from Canada, with sirens sounding, it battled the wind and the rain as it approached Navy Pier.

The boat has a special meaning. It's named after a fallen firefighter.

The "Christopher Wheatley" was named in honor of the 31-year-old firefighter who fell and died over the summer as he was carrying equipment up a fire escape during a restaurant fire.

Coincidentally, the 90-foot-long Christopher Wheatley vessel was constructed in Wheatley, Ontario. It has four large nozzles that reportedly shoot out 14,000 gallons of water per minute for ceremonies and to fight fires near the water.

It also made to break up thick ice so it can to be used year-round, and it can be utilized for rescues by scuba divers.

Fire department officials on Tuesday did not want to talk about the boat or its arrival. They say they won't until it is christened in the near future.

According to reports, the fireboat cost about $8.5 million. Chicago fire officials say it's the first new one in 60 years.