On June 11, 2022, Fire Boat 2 received a call for a vessel on fire in dry dock. At the time FB2 was at a public relations event at the mouth of Dog River. When dispatched FB2 immediately left the event and was en route to the scene.
The location of the incident was in Mobile Port at Austal shipyard. As Fire Boat 2 was entering the main, shipping channel and preparing to head to port when an alarm sounded from the boat’s starboard drive motor. This motor controls the steering pumps and the battery chargers.
Fire Service Driver and Fire Boat Pilot Charles Stewart recognized the problem and quickly acted, as he directed the crew to open the hatches to investigate. Upon opening the appropriate hatch, the crew discovered that a hose had disconnected from the motor, which when operating normally, cools the motor by pumping sea water into it.
When the hose blew off, it started to fill the boat with water that should have been going into the motor. Driver Stewart immediately advised the other boat pilot to steer the boat, while he rushed to fix problem. Stewart found extra parts on the boat, and though the motor was extremely hot, he did not hesitate to mechanically intervene. Considering the alternative, Stewart put himself at risk, knowing that he could save the City’s only Fire Boat from sinking.
After a short delay, the Fire Boat crew was able to continue en route to the scene of the emergency incident. Driver Stewart’s quick thinking and hasty action kept the fire boat from taking on excessive damage, potentially endangering the crew and costing thousands of dollars in repairs.
For his efforts, the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department proudly presents Fire Service Driver Chuck Stewart the Meritorious Service Award.