Firefighters respond by boat


Tremont Volunteer Firefighters head out to Great Gott Island aboard the lobster boat Justin and Colby to battle a wildfire there Saturday.

TREMONT — Firefighters and property owners joined forces Saturday to quickly extinguish a grass fire on Great Gott Island.

The fire was reported around 2:30 p.m., according to Chief Keith Higgins of the Tremont Fire Department. Someone staying on the island made the call.

“They smelled smoke and alerted us,” Chief Higgins said.

A half-dozen Tremont firefighters gathered up gear and headed to the island in Bobby Lee’s lobster boat, Justin and Colby. They were joined by three Southwest Harbor firefighters aboard Colton Sanborn’s boat and two firefighters that came from the Cranberry Isles, Chief Higgins said.

Boat access to the island is dependant on the tide. Justin and Colby arrived first.

“We only had ten minutes to get over the bar,” the chief said. The others, he said, had to land at a more remote part of the island and hike a ways to the fire scene.

By that time, a group of property owners had the fire under control.

“They had it pretty much out when we got there,” the chief said.

About one-quarter of an acre burned, Chief Higgins said. The apparent origin of the fire was a two-week-old debris burn that reignited, he added.

The fire came about two weeks after Chief Higgins approached selectmen about storing firefighting equipment on the island. At one time, the fire department had an old Jeep pickup outfitted with a pump stationed on the island. Over time, that vehicle fell into disrepair and was taken out of service and not replaced.

The fire department plans to take a portable water storage tank, some pumps and hose to the island as a first step. The issue at this point is that there is no place to properly store the equipment, the chief said.

The homes on the island are seasonal.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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