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Pascrell, Local Officials Unveil New Fire Rescue Boat

Congressman instrumental in securing $346,000 grant to help first responders access 29 bridges along Passaic, Hackensack Rivers

Secaucus, August 29, 2019

U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Assemblyman Pedro Mejia, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, Secaucus Fire Chief Carl Leppin, and other state and local officials celebrated the unveiling of the Secaucus Fire Department’s brand-new fire rescue boat that will be used to combat fires along the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers. The marine vessel was funded through a $346,410 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant made available through FEMA’s Port Security Grant Program which was secured with the help of Rep. Pascrell.

“Making sure our firefighters have the best tools to do their jobs and protect our communities is a top priority for me in Congress. This boat is one of those tools that will help our first responders keep watch over our diverse coastlines and bridges,” said Rep. Pascrell. “Seeing this beautiful new boat is so gratifying not only because our fire professionals have a great tool to keep our cities and towns safe, but because this vessel is the product of city, state, and federal leaders working together to secure these funds.”

“I want to thank Congressman Pascrell for fighting on behalf of firefighters in Washington,” said Secaucus Mayor Michael J. Gonnelli when the grant was secured. “This grant money is extremely important to our work in Secaucus. With this money, we obtain[ed] a new firefighting boat to continue protecting our coasts. All the credit to the congressman for making this possible.”

As a major transportation hub, Secaucus serves as first responder to fifteen bridges along the Passaic River and fourteen bridges along the Hackensack River, including the 114-year old Portal Bridge. Secaucus’ new fire rescue boat will be outfitted with modern fire detection equipment to provide rapid emergency response along its coasts while meeting today’s firefighting vehicle safety standards.

Throughout his time in the Congress, Rep. Pascrell has worked consistently to secure federal grants and funding for Secaucus’ police, firefighters, and first responders. In July 2018, Rep. Pascrell celebrated the signing into law of his Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931), which creates a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease. Rep. Pascrell and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) first announced introduction of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in May 2016 during a news conference at Clifton Fire Station 5, where they were joined by dozens of firefighters, including retired Haddon Heights Fire Chief Gene Dannenfelster, who since lost his battle with cancer. H.R.931 was introduced in the 115th Congress on February 17, 2017.

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