Naples sending firefighters to oil-stricken regions to prepare for worst

Members of the City of Naples Fire Department load an 800-foot oil containment boom on to a trailer Thursday at the fire station on 26th Ave. N. in Naples. The boom was recently cleaned and inspected so it will be ready to use in the event that oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico makes its way to the Naples coastline. The goal would be to protect Doctors Pass and Gordon Pass to prevent oil from getting in to the inlets and to protect habitat, mangroves, marinas and restaurants, said Stephen McInerny, fire chief for City of Naples fire department.

Photo by LEXEY SWALL // Buy this photo

Members of the City of Naples Fire Department load an 800-foot oil containment boom on to a trailer Thursday at the fire station on 26th Ave. N. in Naples. The boom was recently cleaned and inspected so it will be ready to use in the event that oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico makes its way to the Naples coastline. The goal would be to protect Doctors Pass and Gordon Pass to prevent oil from getting in to the inlets and to protect habitat, mangroves, marinas and restaurants, said Stephen McInerny, fire chief for City of Naples fire department.

The Florida Keys or Bust He Is That Guy by Matthew Coppens

Nature Trumps Man The Observation Post by Vicki Crawford

Drill, Baby Drill? Spill, Baby Spill He Is That Guy by Matt Coppens

Spill Baby Spill The World According to Me by Roger Berkley

Oil Spill Solution Found: "Stuff It" Life in the Slow Lane by Kathryn Taubert

What are we thinking? Collier 101 by Dennis Vasey

— If the gulf oil spill actually reaches Naples’ shores, it won’t be the first time some of its first responders have seen the potential devastation.

Naples Fire Chief Steve McInerny is going to Pensacola next week to examine the clean-up efforts in an attempt to prepare the city if the oil comes here.

McInerny and Naples Battalion Chief Pete DiMaria will travel to Pensacola on Tuesday to meet with local responders dealing with clean-up efforts. That includes Pensacola fire officials and representatives from Crowder Gulf, a disaster clean-up company that’s representing municipal governments along the gulf.

“We’re going to get with them and see first-hand what’s working and what’s not,” McInerny said.

McInerny will report his findings to Naples City Manager Bill Moss, who said the city just wants to be prepared for the worst.

City officials have been reading up on the spill, Moss said, but they might be able to find more valuable information by seeing cleaning efforts for themselves.

Oil reached the shores of Northwest Florida in late June. However, state officials say there is no indication yet that oil will come to Southwest Florida.

If oil does come to Naples, though, the primary responsibility will fall on BP for protecting the coast, followed by Coast Guard, state and county officials.

But Moss said the city wants to be prepared anyway.

“We just learned a long time ago that you can’t rely on federal and state governments,” Moss said. “I don’t know too many local governments that will.”

The city is particularly interested in learning how efforts to deflect oil from inlets are working in Pensacola, McInerny said.

The city’s first priority for protection would be its inlets at Doctors and Gordon passes.

The city has already taken other steps to defend against the possibility of oil coming to shore.

The fire department received 2,000 feet of oil containment boom worth $17,000. That would be used to soak up the oil in Naples’ most environmentally sensitive areas.

Even if oil never reaches Naples, the boom could be used for other purposes, such as boating accidents, Moss said.

“This won’t go to waste,” he said. “This will always be on hand.”

As for the expense of sending staff to Pensacola, Moss said, “The cost of going up a day or two is relatively cheap insurance if we can gain inform that can help our city in the coming months.”

Chief McInerny said, “It comes down to preparedness. We want to protect our way of life.”

Connect with Aaron Hale at http://www.naplesnews.com/staff/aaron-hale.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features