VIDEO: Water rescues near dams can be particularly harrowing as the churning waters known as "the boil" can pull in people and rescuers.
The Elgin Fire Department is painfully familiar with that, after two of its own died in 1974 during a rescue near the city's dam in the Fox River. The department now has a new tool expected to enhance safety, a Waterwog 3 rescue boat made by Creature Craft that works well near low-head dams, fire officials said. Its most salient feature is an overhead roll cage.
"If the boats tip over because of the current, it still has the capacity to keep everybody safe and we can still perform a rescue," Lt. Michael Przybylski said.
The nearly 14-foot boat has backup safety in the form of a rope about 300 feet long that can be pulled from shore, he said. The total cost was $33,800 including training, but the city spent $14,910 after a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.