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Ice breaker: How this fire crew is cracking DC’s icy waterways

WASHINGTON — While it makes for a serene sight, the frozen Potomac and Anacostia rivers, and other local waterways, can be hazardous if there’s an emergency. So it’s up to D.C. Fire Platoon 3 to clear the water of ice, so they can access any boaters in distress, any national security concerns or alarms at Reagan National Airport.

It was a bit of a rocky ride as the bow of the John Glenn traveled through several inches of ice on the Potomac.

“The John Glenn is rated as an ice-breaking vessel,” said Matt Sandy with D.C. Fire and EMS. “It is currently the only one on the Potomac River available to break ice in an emergency.”

He said they had to break the ice multiple times a day this week, which was necessary to clear a path in case water rescue was needed.


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