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CELERON FIRE DEPARTMENT ACQUIRES AIRBOAT

The Celoron Volunteer Fire Department has become the second on Chautauqua Lake to have an airboat for both fire and rescue operations.

But it's the first all-year boat in operation on the lake, Fire Chief Scott Bailey said.

Bailey said the 24-foot vessel was delivered Friday from Cocoa, Fla. A representative from the manufacturer stayed in the area over the weekend to help train firefighters in the use of the craft.

The 500-horsepower airboat can be used on water or ice, Bailey said. He said the boat is ideal for summertime because it will get over the weeds that tend to grow in the shallower south basin, as well as for wintertime rescues or fire calls.

"We have a unique situation down here," Bailey said. "The lake doesn't freeze completely as it narrows down toward the canal, and we always get a couple of snowmobilers that are unfamiliar with the area and then run out of ice and fall in."

He said the boat also will help if there are any fires that occur along the shoreline. Celoron is home to one large marina and other boat-related businesses, and Bailey said that's a major reason the airboat was purchased.

The only other department that has a boat similar to Celoron's is Bemus Point, said Bailey, and that boat is just used mostly in the wintertime for rescue operations.

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