South Whidbey fire boat construction back on track

First-time fire boat builders at North Cross Aluminum in Freeland are back on track with the South Whidbey Fire/EMS’s fire boat time frame, the district’s chief said.

After one of the company’s workers was injured in a motorcycle crash, the shop was down one employee for a time. That slowed production of a new, $500,000 marine response vessel.

The project came back with five change orders totaling $8,000, which Chief Rusty Palmer said he would review before a special commissioners meeting Thursday, Oct. 17.

“Any construction project will come up with change orders,” he said.

The change orders include different insulated material in the pilot house, a different oil change process and safety fender skirt options. As of Monday, Palmer had not reviewed the change orders with his staff and did not have a recommendation for the fire district commissioners.

The project, mostly financed by $350,000 in FEMA grants, has a $30,000 reserve to pay for any unexpected costs. Palmer, however, did not anticipate the boat costing that much.

“I wouldn’t expect to spend anywhere near that,” he said.

North Cross Aluminum won the bid at $479,000. It was the only company to submit a bid and received the contract in April this year.

“They’ve been doing a good job,” Palmer said.

The boat is expected to undergo sea trials by Dec. 15. South Whidbey Fire/EMS must have all of its paperwork regarding the boat submitted by the end of January 2014 to receive the FEMA grants.

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