Norwalk Commissions New Fire Rescue Boat

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Norwalk's newest fireboat, the Robert Bedell, displays its three water nozzles. Photo Credit: Denis McCarthy
Norwalk officials commissioned the Robert Bedell Monday at Veteran's Memorial Park. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy and other officials gather at the commissioning of the Robert Bedell. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Fire Department christened its new rescue boat, the Robert Bedell, at a ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Monday.

The 38-foot boat is equipped with three nozzles that can spray up to 2,400 gallons of water per minute, said Lt. Tim Morrissette, who oversaw the acquiring of the boat. It has sensors that can track chemicals and radiation. The boat is powered by two 425-horsepower diesel engines and can travel at speeds of up to 35 knots. It also has a pressurized cabin to protect its occupants from hazardous conditions.

“This event is the culmination of several years of hard work and collaboration between local, state and federal agencies,” said Fire Chief Denis McCarthy. “It is the result of many, many hours of hard work and commitment to get it right.”

The $660,000 boat was paid for with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Morrissette and his committee searched up and down the East Coast examining different fireboats before choosing North River Boats in Oregon. He made five trips to Oregon to oversee its construction before it was delivered in October.

“Over the years we’ve read in the papers about a lot of the rescues that our Police and Fire departments have made in our harbor with kayakers or boaters that get in trouble. We know their professionalism and their courage. And now we’ve given them the newest piece of equipment that will help, not only in cases of rescues, but in any other emergency in our harbor or any other harbors,” said Mayor Richard Moccia.

“The threats that this craft will address are deadly serious,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Himes. He commended the first responders who risk their lives to help others. “When Hurricane Sandy hit, we saw their effectiveness demonstrated over the course of several weeks.”

The boat was named in honor of Robert L. Bedell, who served in the Norwalk Fire Department from 1975 until his death in 2004.

“Bob’s legacy will continue to serve the City of Norwalk through this fire boat,” said McCarthy.

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Comments (6)


This boat came with strings what were they and how much is it going to cost to operate who pays for the three or four 4 hours to go out and what do the same thing as before but without the police dept?

What if there is enforcment on the Islands or in Norwalks waters what fireman has been sworn in on the police dept?

Let me guess MCCarthy has given out water pistols along with the secret decoder rings to his selective few,what about the other firemen?+

Come on Harry Rilling lets hear some great facts about our police boats,even tho the police dept once tried to get the Harbour Commision to pay for some things they said no to its been a great program and water rescue program that did its job for next to no money.

Maybe the two Council Captians can step up to the plate and ask some questions its time to turn up the heat on the fire dept.

Broad River:

No, the shoreline is not expanding. All the manning and repairs put people to work that then spend money, perhaps keeping somebody else's business afloat. You Never turn down Grant money.


The city is not "expanding" in this instance; as Ken P. says. It is keeping up with the needs of the community and is very aware of the importance of providing emergency services for our safety. When the boat saves one individual from death, the word "wasteful" is meaningless.

David Park:

On a few occasions, campers on the Norwalk Islands have been careless and started small brush fires close to shore. This new boat may work well in those emergencies, also.

Ken P Jr:

I guess its good, but over half a million for something we have done very well without seems wastefull, even if its a grant, the money came from taxes and now we must man, insure, maintain & fuel it so the expense is just starting. At a time when many of us are barely making it by I'd rather the city be cutting back instead of expanding.

Broad River:

Grant money comes from all sources of revenue not just taxes and if you don't take the money, somebody else will and you'll still be paying taxes. If I gave you a brand new car that you were able to choose all the options you wanted,'d refuse on the basis of the cost of fuel, insurance, registration and maintenance? Oh sure, you have a car or maybe borrow a neighbors when you need one and in a few years when you need a new one of your own, my offer is off the table. Just because they have the boat does not mean it needs to be in a 24/7 operational status. It even has three guns! I'm sorry you're just making it but the cost of one Norwalker's life makes it worth more than the price tag, oh wait, what price tag?

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