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Lawrence set to install 4 river rescue stations

LAWRENCE -- Nearly a year after the accidental drowning of four boys in the Merrimack River last year, the city today is unveiling the first of four river rescue stations.

 

The 6-foot-tall units have a standard-issue fire alarm pull box electronically connected to a clear-fronted cabinet, which contains a lifesaving ring and 150 feet of floating line.

"Once the alarm is pulled, a strobe light goes off, an alarm sounds at the fire station, and a magnetic switch releases the lock on the cabinet so you can reach the buoy and line," said Bud Dorgan, a member of the Lawrence Fire Department who helped design and wire the units.

The units were designed by the city's Fire Department and constructed by the city's Department of Public Works after the Lawrence Rotary Club approached the city about making a donation to help prevent another river drowning, said Mayor Michael Sullivan.

William Rodriguez, 11, Christopher Casado, 7, Victor "Ricky" Baez, 9, and Mackendy Constant, 8, drowned the evening of Dec. 14, 2002, when they and three other friends ventured out on thin ice after a basketball tournament at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club.

The first rescue station has been installed at the city's Abe Beshara Boathouse on the river's south side, Sullivan said. The other locations were chosen by the fire department and will include a location near where the seven boys went into the water last year.

Caroline Louise Cole can be reached at cole@globe.com.

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