MINOCQUA - A generous donation gave one Northwoods fire department a new life-saving tool. The Minocqua Fire Department now has its own airboat.
The department had been considering getting one for a few years. Before they would use a man-powered sled, which had to be walked out to people trapped on ice. Assistant Fire Chief Brian Hazelett said an airboat makes rescue attempts easier.
"It's a quicker response time, less fatigue on us, faster getting the patient getting back to shore, it's heated for one thing so we can get those people into a somewhat warm environment," said Hazelett.
A couple in Arbor Vitae was selling their airboat, but when they found out a fire department wanted it they gave it to the firefighters for free.
"That was an absolute complete surprise," said Hazelett. "That was a huge generous gift to us but also the community."
Hazelett said buying an airboat would've cost about $90,000. The department plans to use the airboat for ice rescues, but it can be used year round.