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Gainesville fire department donates water hoses for dock upgrade
Josh Pruner loads old fire hoses donated by the Gainesville Fire Department in a truck Saturday. Pruner is using the hoses to repair docks at the Lake Lanier Olympic venue as part of an Eagle Scout project. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

A Gainesville High School student has found a use for a fire hose that is more than 30 years old.

The Gainesville Fire Department donated the sections of unused hose to Josh Pruner to be used for his Eagle Scout leadership service project. The project will consist of repairing five docks at the Lake Lanier Olympic venue at Clarks Bridge Park.

Pruner, a member of Troop 16 sponsored by Gainesville First United Methodist Church, approached the fire department about obtaining the lengths of fire hose to be used as bumpers on the sides of the docks. The fire department donated 25 sections of hose, each 50 feet long.

"I got in touch with the rowing venue, and they told me the docks need to be redone because they haven't been done since the 1996 Olympics," Pruner said. "The bumpers on the docks at the rowing venue are falling apart, parts are missing. Some of them are rotting or are already rotten and the rest are just outdated and need replacing."
The bumpers will allow boaters to anchor at the docks without damage.

"The docks need to be in good shape to keep participants safe, but also to keep the boats safe because some of them are very expensive," Pruner wrote in a project workbook.

The task of collecting necessary materials began last year. Now Pruner hopes to begin the project this weekend and finish before the busy summer lake season.

Pruner and other volunteers will begin the project by prying the old rubber bumpers from the docks and then dispose of them at the Hall County Recycling Center.

Volunteers will then nail the new bumpers to the docks.
Pruner said some of the work will need to be done in the water, which could be chilly in mid-winter.

The fire department has been replacing hoses over the past few years and had several lengths not being used, Gainesville Fire Chief Jon Canada said.

"All of the hose that we donated has been taken out of service for use, so it would not be safe for us to donate it to another department or to surplus it to be used for firefighting," Canada said.

The department typically destroys old, unused hoses because they are no longer considered safe.
But they can make an ideal bumper.

"It can be used for this project. The structure of the hose is good enough to use for what (Pruner) wants to use it for," Canada said.

Rather than destroying the hose, Canada said he was glad to see it go to a good cause.

"Most of this hose is between 30 and 40 years old, so I think it's neat that the hose has been in the community for that long and it will continue to be in the community for many years to come in a different use and capacity," Canada said.