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South King Fire Department saves thousands on boat repairs

The bad news is that South King Fire and Rescue's fire boat is out of service. The good news? Most of the repairs won't cost the department, even though the boat wasn't under warranty.

The boat suffered catastrophic failures in both engines during a training exercise on Dec. 18, Deputy Chief Mike Knorr said.

The engines were both fairly new, one having 300 hours on it and the other around 1,000.

Repairs were originally delayed due to the holidays, when the only qualified repair facility was closed.

SKFR has been working with the repair facility and the manufacturer, Yamaha, to find out what caused the failure.

The problem included exhaust surrounding the engine and rods bending, causing several holes.

Knorr said it was a problem that happened with all of the engine manufacturers.

Yamaha has since offered to cover the costs of all parts and most of the labor to get the boat back in service, even though both engines were out of warranty. The department had budgeted spending more than $28,000 on the repairs, but now it looks like that won't be necessary.

The cost has now gone from an estimated $40,000 down to $5,000.

Insurance may cover the rest, Knorr said.

The boat is tentatively expected to be back the water on Feb. 3.

The department has also modified its training on the boat to help prevent an event like this in the future.

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