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Fireboat Edward M. Cotter open for tours Wednesday

The fireboat Edward M. Cotter, a National Historic Landmark, will be open for free tours Wednesday at the Western New York Vietnam Veterans Monument along the Buffalo River.

Visitors will be welcomed aboard from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free hot chocolate, coffee and cookies will be available.

The tours are the first part of a capital campaign to raise funds to repair the Cotter. The 115-year-old boat needs two new propellers, hull repairs, engine refurbishment and a complete rewiring of its electrical system. The capital campaign’s goal is $750,000.

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Organizations involved in the capital campaign include the Buffalo Fire Department, Buffalo Professional Firefighters Association Local 282, the Western New York Retired Firefighters Association, the Buffalo Fire Historical Society and the Fire Bell Club of Buffalo.

Organizers said the tours are the first step in sharing the Cotter’s history and role in protecting Buffalo’s waterfront from fires and flooding. The Cotter is also an ice breaker that keeps the city’s water intakes open and helps prevent flooding of the city and nearby towns. Visitors can see a video of the Cotter breaking ice during the tours.