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Water-Related News

Longboat Key adds rough and ready high-water rescue truck

Military-style machine adds a new element to Longboat Fire Rescue's flood-response plans.

Tropical Storm Eta presented a challenge for Longboat Key first responders.

As tides and rain runoff rose during the November 2020 storm, north-end roads began flooding. And then, Longboat Key Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Carr recalled, there was a 911 call about a fire in Longbeach Village.

There never was a question about responding into the rising salt water to protect lives and property, but . . .

“We were told by our fleet services maintenance that we were probably about four inches from destroying a truck completely,” Carr said. “So it was that close to the air intake.”

Enter the town's newest vehicle, a behemoth of a four-wheel drive machine that can easily roll through almost anything Longboaters can expect do see and looks perhaps more suited to a Tom Clancy novel than a day by the beach. It would have cost the town $850,000 if not for a sweet deal that brought it to town for free.

The town's high-water vehicle comes to service via Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. While it's still state property, the truck is Longboat Key's to paint in town colors, affix town insignias and essentially keep for as long as the town wants.