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Cornelius News

Town Board approves repairs to fire boat

Fire Boat 4, the Simon Aliotta

Feb. 7. By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Town Board unanimously approved the expenditure of $204,092 to repair the Cornelius Lemley Fire Dept. fire boat. Funds will be transferred from the 2023 fiscal year budget general fund surplus in order to cover the cost of the repair.

Speaking with commissioners prior to the Feb. 6 board meeting, Fire Chief Guerry Barbee stated that the boat, built in 2010 and known as Fireboat 4, has been experiencing significant engine problems which could impact its ability to respond to emergencies.

This isn’t the first time repairs for the fireboat have been requested. Repairs were originally requested in 2019 but then everything came to a halt due to covid. There was also an issue getting parts for the boat engines. When this approved work is done, the boat will be refurbished from stem to stern, according to Guerry, and it should last another 10-15 years.


Fire Boat 4 is named the “Simon Aliotta.” In 2006 young Simon Aliotta was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Simon loved fire trucks and became friends with some of our firefighters. The four-year-old passed away in 2007 and his family requested that memorials be made to the “Float the Boat” campaign while the department was raising funds for Fire Boat 4.

Fireboats on the lake

The town’s fire boat is among several which provide protection on and near the lake. Among the additional fire suppression units are those operated by the Huntersville Fire Department the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, which launched a new 27-foot fireboat in 2022, Sherrills Ford in Catawba County and Denver in Lincoln County.

In other action

Also at Mondays meeting, the commissioners approved a contract with Martin Starnes & Associates of Hickory to audit the town’s FY23 financial statements. Cornelius and many surrounding towns have used the Starnes firm for many years.