Sunday, November 4, 2007

Albero Splashes Down

Albero, as predictable as always, is once again blasting the Salisbury Fire Department Marine Division in their quest for a new Fireboat. He is in such haste to belittle the SFD he can’t even remember when he had his original post up. Today he claims it was “early last summer”, when in reality it was mid August. Great research Albero.

The idea of protecting riverfront property is not out of line. I invite anyone to take a morning boat ride down the Wicomico River and take a look at the private properties there. Than take an afternoon drive and check out these same properties from the land. You will begin to see just how un-accessible many of these houses are. Some are built basically on islands or small spits of land with very narrow driveways. Once on the property there is little room to maneuver equipment, or even room for multiple pieces of equipment. Since so many of these properties are well outside the hydrant area, any fir of magnitude would require a tanker operation requiring equipment to move in and out of the area to maintain water supply.

The commercial property along the waterfront is also a matter of great concern. The largest concern of course in the petroleum tank farms located there. If anyone has any doubt about the hazard posed by that, please remember February 1975. That explosion at the Exxon terminal rocked houses for miles and miles around. Before that incident was brought control resources from Wallops Island Virginia were being used and resources from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware were under consideration.

Salisbury is the second largest petroleum port in the State of Maryland. Scoff at that all you like but facts are facts. Millions of gallons of product flow through there every day on the land and on the water. Safety is paramount to the crews of the tugs and barges that navigate the local waters, but accidents do happen. Fairly recent to the waterfront is the Salisbury Marina. Shipboard firefighting is ball of wax all to itself. Often time the craft involved in accessible to land based apparatus and the need to approach and mitigate an incident such as this must be done from the water. It may even be necessary to remove the burning craft from its mooring to protect surrounding boats and structures. That’s a little hard to with out a boat capable of controlling the situation.

The Marine Divisions largest boat in a 25-foot pleasure craft. The pumping capacity is currently 250 gpm from a portable pump. In order to be sufficient a fireboat should have a pumping capacity at least equal to its land based counterparts. The pumpers in the Salisbury Fire Dept today are 1200, 1500, and 2000 gpm.

It is true the city fireboat is seldom used for firefighting. However in May of 1979 the fireboat was in service fighting fire at the Pocahontas offices on Mill Street. Once again in June of 1979 at the Benjamins fire on the downtown Plaza. Had a boat with a decent pump on board been available, it could well have been used when Mr. Bill Martins house burned in the not so distant past. Also again with the fire at Setter’s Run (?) sub division when a house was lost and water supply was a problem. It may, (I said may) have been possible for a boat to supply relaying tankers with water from the river without having a long run to the nearest hydrant. A 250-gpm pump is akin to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. It’s a worthless act. So, the fireboat isn’t used that often for fighting fire therefore it isn’t needed. Using that rationale you should take the spare tire out of your trunk. After all you have 4 good ones on the road and you don’t need a spare that often.

Are special chemical needed to fight petroleum fires? You bet they are. Sometime these chemicals are used hundred or even thousands of gallon at a time.
Does Salisbury have these chemicals? You bet they do. The chemicals of which Albero’s commenter has spoken of is in concentrated form in 5 gal containers.
What bring these chemicals from concentrate to usable consistency for fighting fire?

WATER—that’s what. The chemicals are induced through the pumping systems and are apportioned to the proper mix and applied to the burning fuel. Sometimes this mix is applied from a distance. Sometimes it is induced directly into a tank. Sometimes hand lines at close range apply it. However it is applied, it can’t be done effectively with a 250 gpm portable pump and it must be done with a appropiate water/concetrate ratio.

Once again Albero questions why protection of this waterfront property doesn’t fall to the Coast Guard. Simply put—the Coast Guard isn’t here and as far as I know there is no plans to open a station here. Go ask the Coast Guard why. From Crisfield or Chincoteague, wherever the closest unit is stationed, it’s too far away to be of use to this area. Again---facts are facts.

Finally, the Times today clearly states that homeland security fund are prohibited from being used for a new fireboat. The $800,000 price tag is the upper limit to which a boat could cost. Albero want the insurance companies to pay for the boat. Does he think they will not pass on this expense to their customers? They will, and I assure you they will not pass it on to just those on the waterfront. Everyone will bear the expense.

I wonder----If Albero owned property on the waterfront would he scream if the city failed to have adequate protection for him?

Additional Thoughts
Albero mentioned that river traffic does not warrant bridge tenders. It seems the Sate of Maryland recently made that decsion. For what it's worth I find that to be a horrible turn of events from the SFD standpoint. Although there are longer active tank forms up in that harbor, there are many hazards that may require an immediate access by water. In all fairness Albero simply mentioned this as fact--he did not blame anyone or pass opinion on the matter.


Inside Looking Out said...

I do have to agree on many points in your post. I have several fire service friends that were actually at the Exxon fire and also the huge fire on the downtown plaza involving Benjamins and several other buildings,i suppose that was previous to "The Great One" coming to this area and blessing us with all his extreme knowledge. They have told me of how the Salisbury Fire Department fireboat(i believe it was called the Datum then)was used for hours pumping water directly from the river to lessen the strain on the city water system.

Admittedly i'd love to think that if the "Mega Homes" were being insured at an extreme cost to thier owners and THEIR OWNERS ONLY, but let's be honest, the cost is spread to EVERYONE, the same as the cost of homes and personal property lost in Katrina.

I DO NOT think that this $800,000.00 cost figure is anything like what the fire department is talking about nor is what it needs. I believe THAT figure is what the City of Baltimore paid for THEIR fireboat(again Mr. Albero is sooo exact and all knowing), which by my sources say, is FAR from what Salisbury is actually considering.

My sources say that the Baltimore boat is like 80 feet long and also has equipment to deal with weapons of mass destruction as well. What was told to them for Salisbury is something like 36 or 40 feet long with mostly maritime fire fighting equipment being specified. Of course THOSE facts will never ever see the light of day on Mr. Albero's site, he'd prefer to simply stir the hornets nest than to publish FACTS!!! I read his ranting the other day whining and complaining of the fact that "his claimed anon comments from firefighters had deminished" and that he'd probably be going to another site to "stir things up"!! And so he did !!!!!!!

Soapbox said...

I pulled your comment Albero.
It was O.K. until the very last word you used. Delete that and re-submit and I shall let it stand.

joealbero said...

I didn't save it. Please e-mail it to and I'll remove the last word. Thanking You In Advance, Joe

Soapbox said...

I didn't save either

joealbero said...

You're lying Joe. You're afraid my comment would clearly show you're lying in this Post and that's what you're afraid of. I never cursed in my comment. Joe is simply afraid you people would quickly realize just how huge a lie this post is. Look in your trash for the comment I put up Joe. Prove to everyone I'm a liar, including that last word that was allegedly unacceptable.

Soapbox said...

I permanently deleted the comment with a prompt from Blogger Albero.
Tell me how to retrieve it on Blogger and I will do so and I will e-mail it to you for correction as you request.

It’s certainly not my duty to save your unacceptable comments.

I am not lying about anything.

Chuck Norris said...

Joseph, why don't you just retype this marvelous comment that is full of truth?

joealbero said...

Like I said, I never cursed, leaving NO reason for you to delete it. The truth was too much for you to handle because it made your Post look like a pack of lies.

Soapbox said...

chuck norris

I don't have it. It was deleted. The comment was a paragraph long and Albero used a derogatory word at the end so I deleted it.

Rather than try to recall from memory and risk being called a liar or conscrewing the original message, I will allow Albero to re-submit. However it is not up to me to retain his drivel. If he or anyone else can tell me how to recover the deleted comment I will do as stated and e-mail it to him for revision.

He can't rememeber what he said and it's my fault that I don't retain his thoughts.

Go figure.

Soapbox said...

I did not say you cursed Albero. I indicated the last word was offensive. In case you don't recall this is part of my original post when I started this BLOG and it is clearly stated in the left hand column of the main page:

".....Say anything you like about anything or anyone but keep the language clean and refrain from name calling. I reserve the right to edit any comments made here."

The word you used was derogatory and offensive. I disallowed it.
Re-submit without the name calling and I will allow it to stand.

Itemize the lies.

joealbero said...

I did not call you or anyone else a name. You couldn't handle the truth and you lied again stating it was only a paragraph long. Try more like 3 or 4.

Gunpowder Chronicler said...

"The truth was too much for you to handle because it made your Post look like a pack of lies."

Pot, kettle called, and he wants the black back.

Richard Head said...

Albero one ups himself again! Just when you think he couldn't sink any lower, he comes off with this stuff. Can anyone say "PATHOLOGICAL"???

Soapbox said...

I say again--Itemize the lies.

one by one

Gunpowder Chronicler said...


The only thing I would add to your post is that while the Coast Guard does have firefighting boats and capabilities, those capabilities are -- since 9/11 -- concentrated around MAJOR targets like Norfolk, New York, etc.

Expecting the Coast Guard to establish a station in Salisbury for the purpose of firefighting would be the absolute worst application of federalism on the history of the planet.

Anonymous said...

Just think Joe,
You can stand on the west bank of the river and take pictures of all the drunk racist firefighters cruising down the river running over innocent boaters.
WOW, what a scoop "Scoops" Albero would have for his "News" site.

Personally I can not understand WHY we don't already have a large fire rescue vessel. We have numerous fuel depots, tankers and other buildings along the shore. Additionally we need to re-design the bridge next to Market Street Inn so the fire boat can get up the river towards the Hospital, Library, downtown and the Daily Times to support fire rescue efforts should, they ever be needed.

Soapbox said...

Correct Gunpowder

The traffic and channels of the Chesapeake Bay are of a far greater concern to the Coast Guard than the Port of Salisbury. This is not say they will not respond if needed here, but there is not enough activity to support a permanent detail. Therefore it falls to the local jurisdiction to provide protection and service.

Thank you for the valid point.

Anonymous said...

The closest Coast Guard station that could be of any creditable assistance is Crisfield. It would take at least 2 hours for them to respond on the scene under good weather conditions.
Rain, Wind, Snow, Fog, ICE, Salisbury would probably be on their own for the duration. Just how much damage can be done by a major fire in 2 hours? My guess is TOO MUCH.
I'm not sure they even have a fire rescue boat at that station???

Soapbox said...

I may be mistaken but I don’t believe there is a CG “Fireboat” per say in the local area. Crews on the cutters are trained in damage control and there is a small pump available for that. However I do not believe there are large volume pumps aboard.

Chuck Norris said...

soap, I ment Albero, not you.

Soapbox said...

chuck norris

understood. no problem.

Gunpowder Chronicler said...

CGS Curtis Bay doesn't have one -- firefighting responsibilities in the port of Baltimore are the jurisdiction of the City FD.

This was seen during the explosion at the Domino's plant last week-- where the fireboat was actually employed not to directly put water on the fire, but for dust suppression.

You know-- one point that Soap touched on in his original post, but didn't elaborate on: maritime firefighting is VASTLY different from land-based firefighting, and requires and incredible amount of water.

Most shipboard fires occur or quickly spread below decks FAST. Since heat rises, firefighters often have to descend into an incredible inferno. Fireboats equipped with effective pumps can put a lot of water on those fires fast, giving firefighters a chance to safely enter burning vessels.

I've always been taught that when fighting a fire, you put the suppressant -- water, chem, whatever -- on the base of the flame (where the actually exothermic chemical reaction is occurring), not to the top of the flame.

In a maritime fire, that means flooding the fire location in many instances, because of the heat and the inability of firefighters to get down into the vessel.

That means you need a boat with serious pumps, not a pleasure boat jury-rigged with a Home Depot special.

Inside Looking Out said...

OK...I guess i may as well throw in my 2 cents to Mr. Albero's incredible MIS-claims. After reading the comments of his last night i made a few inquiring phone calls to fire service people that i trust beyond compare. Their words were that Salisbury has been looking...again..LOOKING at different designs and manufacturers of fireboats for a couple years if not longer.

They've talked to other departments that have fireboats that have not only commercial developement, but also residential developement along areas of water in their respective jurisdictions. THIS WHOLE THING about a "practical working fireboat"(term was given to me) is NOTHING NEW except to Mr. Albero.

Again, i was told by people not even connected with Salisbury Fire Department, and even they've known about the department looking at designs of actual working fireboats for a few years now. I was told that there has been no real reason to actually write specifications until they have ACCURATE information as to what will or will not work for this area for the uses the department has in mind.

This again, is another one of Mr. Albero's "Chicken Little" running around screaming "the sky is falling...the sky is falling" "the mayor is screwing us....the mayor is screwing us" rants.

You're better at taking pictures of street lights being on during the day or maybe the lights being out at night than you are in reporting ACTUAL ACCURATE INFORMATION about the local fire services. Might try sticking to what you're good at!!!

Soapbox said...

Thank you Inside Looking Out.
Truth be told the "Looking" for new apparatus is an ongoing process. The fire service is constantly evolving and even if new equipment is not on the current agenda, ideas and concepts are always on the minds of those planning for years in advance. In this service equipment must be "spec"ed to the local need. It's not like going to the dealership and driving one off the lot.

Inside Looking Out said...'s even better on his site Soapbox, now Mr. Albero is a fire investigator and knows more about the starting of the HOOPERS fire than actual members of Ocean City Volunteer Fire Department that were IN FACT actually there and would probbaly be a bit closer to the state fire marshals or the fire marshals in Ocean City and Worcester County to know the real factual actual cause!!!!

Soapbox said...

I was not at Hoopers but I am sure of this much. That fire had a huge head start before it was discovered and it certainly was obvious that it burned from the inside out. It would be virtually impoosible for a fire of such magnitude to stay hidden for so long otherwise.

Richard Head said...

Chicken Little knows so much about the Fire Department, one has to wonder why that wasn't his chosen career path. He shows a picture of OC's mini-pumper on his site and states that unit was the sole pumping source on the scene of the Hoopers Fire. While it was a workhorse on that call, 800 GPM isn't quite the capacity needed to flow the large volumes of water that it took to extinguish that blaze.

Chicken Little also rants about how "HE WAS THERE". I took him to task about who in fact was pumping that piece of equipment that evening and, much like his whining about the Daily Times taking his comments down, he failed to put mine up. I'm assuming because the mighty midget couldn't answer my question, when in fact it was former Mayor of OC, the Honorable Roland "Fish" Powell.

You would think that someone that who's in the know so much could have answered that since HE WAS THERE.