Check out this pre-arrival video. Dredging crew tries to put out apartment fire with excavator on a barge.

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This is a pretty cool video. While I am not sure how effective they were in the end, you have to give this dredging crew a lot of credit for the efforts they made trying to stop the spread of this apartment fire on Saturday at 220 Canal Street in San Rafael, California. Firefighters are crediting building manager Noel Funes with running into the building to alert neighbors and the crew in the canal from keeping the fire in check.

As you will see in the video by  the workers from Sam River Construction first tried to use the excavator to dump water on the burning top floor apartment. They just couldn’t get close enough. According to the description with the video a hose was then hooked up to the bilge pump. It took some time to get the barge in position for the water to reach the building.

Nicole Ely, San Rafael Patch:

Firefighters were dispatched at 9:34 a.m. to the canal-front complex and arrived at about 9:40 a.m. to the backside of an apartment complex. Buscher said the spot was down a long driveway about 500-600 feet from the nearest fire hydrant, causing a brief challenge for those first at the site.

The Brandy Bar, a tug that is taking part in a dredging project overseen by the city of San Rafael and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was working in the area and noticed the smoke. The tug operator was the first to spray water on the second-floor balcony, Buscher said.

“They were able to put a hose on it and hold the fire down for us,” he said. “They didn’t extinguish it but they kept it in check and contained until we could make quick work of it.”

Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal:

“The quick action of the dredge crew held the dangerous fire in check until we got there,” the battalion chief(Jeffrey Buscher) said.

Firefighters soon arrived, helped evacuate threatened residents and knocked down flames within 10 minutes, the battalion chief said. No one was injured, but the Red Cross was called in to assist five to 10 residents displaced by the fire, which caused an estimated $30,000 in damage.

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