Thursday, September 12, 2013
By Tom Haydon/The Star-Ledger Seaside Park, NJ.
It is one of only three water cannon systems in the state, purchased with Homeland Security Funds in the event of an attack on the oil tank fields along Routes 1 and 9.
On Thursday the Neptune System, stationed in Union County, was deployed to battle the huge Seaside boardwalk fire, providing thousands of gallons per minute to pour on the blaze that destroyed four blocks along the iconic recreation area.
More than 30 firefighters from Elizabeth, Kenilworth, Linden, Roselle and Union Township brought all the components of the Neptune System to the fire scene Thursday, and drew water from the Barnegat Bay. "We had an Iron Gun that throws water 400 feet in distance and using 5,000 gallons a minute," said Elizabeth Deputy Fire Chief Lathey Wirkus, one of the Union County fire coordinators who went to the scene. Wirkus said the firefighting equipment was stationed at the edge of the blaze."Our tires were two feet away from the flames," Wirkus said. He said the system has a capacity to pump 15,000 gallons per minute. Morris County firefighters, who also have a Neptune System, brought their pump to the scene as a backup, Wirkus said. He said a third system is maintained in southern New Jersey.
Union County firefighters stayed through the night, working with the hundreds of other firefighters that came from across the state.Along with the water pulled out the bay, the system sucked out sea shells and fish, which fell across the ground when firefighters disconnected the hoses from the huge pumping system, Wirkus said. Filters prevented the shells and sea life from entering the pump."I (jokingly) told the guys, don't eat the fish," Wirkus said.
Original Story NJ. Com