Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

Los Angeles City No. 2
1925 - 2003

National Park Service - Maritime Heritage Program

Cover -The Fireman's Grapevine, March 1988
Photo by Mr. Wilton S. Tifft

Fire Boat 2 and Fire Boat 4

Courtesy: Firefighter Danny Elizarraras
Hull Number 47
Fire Boat 2 on the Ways
L.A. Shipyard (later Todd Shipyard)
October 9, 1925

Fire Boat No. 2

Los Angeles City No. 2, a state of the art fireboat with many innovations, was built in 1925 at the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp. (Todd Shipyard), San Pedro.  Launched October 20, 1925, the $214,000 fire boat, later renamed Fireboat 2, the Ralph J. Scott, originally was gasoline-powered and rated at 10,200 gpm.

Fire Aboard the S. S. Warwick
By Stanley E. Halfhill, June 30, 1940

Guardian of Marine Safety
By Captain William Cody, November 1940

Los Angeles Fire Boat No. 2
By Stanley E. Halfhill, November 1940

The Battleship Arizona
By Stanley E. Halfhill, July 1, 1941

The End of Diving Operations
By Stanley E. Halfhill, April 15, 1941

Just Soldiering
By Stanley E. Halfhill, December 15, 1941

Fire Boat No. 2 the "White Elephant"
By K. K. Pollard, January 1945

Boat Specifications
By Captain M. P. Allen, Fire Boat No. 2-A, March 1945

Fire Boat Operations
By K. K. Pollard, April, 1945

The Ralph J. Scott 
by Michael Kent, 1983

Los Angeles Times
November 27, 1938

Source: LAFIRE  Collection

March 23, 1941
1. J. A. Brown, 2. H. Hollis, 3. N. O. Chamberlain, 4. J. R. Lott, 5. P. J. Larsen, 6. H. H. Holmer,
7. G. M. Jorgensen 8. Captain M. P. Allen, 9. B. A. Gray, 10. J. F. Thompson, 11. L. A. Furu, 12. H. P. Bates

Source: LAFIRE Collection




March 23, 1941

Top Row-- G. M. Jorgensen
P. J. Larsen
H. Hollis
J. F. Thompson
H. H. Holmer
H. P. Bates

Bottom Row--




N. O. Chamberlain
J. A. Brown
J. R. Lott
L. A. Furu
Captain M. P. Allen
B. A. Gray



Circa 1955
Berth 226-227, Terminal Island

One of the few covered boathouses ever built for American fireboats, this building, later known as Fire Station 112 became a waterfront landmark until its demolition, July 22, 1986, to make way for a new cargo container complex.

Photo by Byron S. Crader
Circa 1955

Photo by Byron S. Crader

On the bow: Fireman Howard "Lefty" Welker with Captain Warner L. Lawrence
Circa 1950

Circa 1950

On May 6, 1924 voters approved a $400,000. bond issue for construction of a fireboat, a station to house it and auxiliary apparatus.

Following completion of L. E. Caverly's designs dated January 31, 1925, a $214,000 contract was awarded to the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp. (Todd Shipyard) in San Pedro.  The contract called for an October 1, 1925, delivery date.  At 10:25 a.m., October 25, 1925, Mrs. Ralph J. Scott christened Los Angeles City No. 2 by breaking a bottle of fire-extinguishing foamite across the bow.

Commissioned December 2, 1925 the Los Angeles City No. 2 went into service 25 days later with a crew of 14, including a captain, a pilot, a mate, two engineers and nine firemen. 

The triple screw, white-painted fireboat was riveted steel construction.  Her length is 99.3", beam 19-feet, depth of hold 9-feet, 152 gross tons and  fuel capacity 2156 gal.

Originally the Los Angeles City No. 2 was powered by seven 350-horsepower, 6-cylinder in-line Winton gasoline engines.  Three of these Wintons drove the center, port and starboard propellers for a top rated speed of 17 knots (the fastest fireboat afloat). The four other Wintons operated the forward-mounted pumps.  Increased pumping capacity resulted from the dual capability of the two wing propulsion engines when they were switched from propulsion to pumping mode.  There are six Byron Jackson four-stage centrifugal pumps mounted in pairs forward of the propulsion system.  Each is rated at 1700 G.P.M. at 200 psi., for a total output of 10,200 G.P.M.

In 1945 the seven Winton propulsion engines were replaced by Hall Scott engines.  Two 625 H.P. V-12 Hall Scott Defenders drive the outboard screws.  A 275 H.P. 6-cylinder in-line Hall Scott Invader drives the center screw.  

The six Byron Jackson four-stage centrifugal pumps,  mounted in pairs forward of the propulsion system are driven as follows:  

Pumps No. 1,  No. 2,  No. 3, and No. 4 are driven by one of the 275 H.P. 6-cylinder in-line Hall Scott Invaders.

Pumps No. 5 and No. 6 are driven by one of the 625 H.P. V-12 Hall Scott Defenders.

Beginning in 1975 the gasoline engines were replaced with diesels and by 1978 two 700 H.P. V-12 Cummins, three 380 H.P. 6 cylinder in-line Cummins and two 525 H.P. V-12 - 2 cycle Detroits  power the fireboat.  

Fire Boat No. 2 carries breathing apparatus, forcible entry tools, heavy stream appliances, a bank of eighteen 50 lb. CO-2 cylinders (now removed), flood light, smoke ejector equipment, syphon ejectors, drag and grappling hooks, two 3 1/2" Mystery nozzles, and tips up to 6" for the largest deck turret.  Four reels carry 4000 feet of various sizes of hose.  The boat is equipped with 24 hose outlets (12 port and 12 starboard) and 5 large deck guns.  Big Bertha, mounted on the wheelhouse could deliver 10,200-gallons-per-minute via a six-inch nozzle..  The tower turret, believed to be the first, or at least one of the first, fireboat towers in the nation, raises to a height of 42' above the water. 

Fire Boat 2 was commissioned December 2, 1925 and went into service with 14 officers and crewmen.

  Circa 1940

Mounting 5 monitor guns, including a tower gun which could be extended 44 feet above water level, Los Angeles City No. 2 was one of the first large fire boats powered by gasoline.  Carrying 2156 gallons of fuel, the fireboat featured a safety system which completely changed the air in the engine room every five minutes as a precaution against leaking gasoline vapors.  A further safeguard against below deck fires was a bank of 18 carbon dioxide extinguishing agent cylinders forward of the water tower.  
                                 FIREBOATS by Paul Ditzel



By CLIFF DEKTAR, December 1954

New Eyes for the Seagoing Fireman

By Lee Zitko, May 1956

Three Fire Boats are Christened
May 1965

By Captain Warner L. Lawrence, Fireboat 2, February 1970

2 To Blazes
By Paul Ditzel, WESTWAYS, August 1976

New Power for the "Scott"
By Bill Dahlquist, Pilot, Fireboat 2 "C", 1978


REF. NO. 89001430

National Historic Landmark
on June 30, 1989
by the National Park Service Maritime Heritage

Ralph J. Scott featured in "California Gold", 
by Huell Howser, PBS TV

Source: LAFD Photo Album Collection
Fire Boat 2 at the dedication for the
Vincent Thomas Bridge

Los Angeles City No. 2 battled its first major fire, March 3, 1926, when the fully-loaded lumber schooner, Sierra, burned at the E. K. Wood Lumber Company wharf, San Pedro.
FIREBOATS by Paul Ditzel.


Major Emergency in Harbor

It took 26 Los Angeles City Fire Companies and 5 Fire Boats over two hours to extinguish this difficult fire in the San Pedro area.  First arriving fire units reported 300' of Berth 77 on fire and spreading to adjacent boats.  Loss estimated to be over $1,500.000 to the wharf and six boats.  No injuries were reported and the fire is under investigation.
March, 1988                 Photos by Mike Meadows

November 15, 1940

March 1943

Fire Boat No. 2, stationed in the harbor, is shown with all nozzles in action in a demonstration of its powerful fire-fighting ability.  Firemen of the Harbor Patrol are faced with constant and intense watchfulness during the emergency of  war, protecting, as they do, the millions upon millions of dollars worth of property in an area which is the favorite stalking ground of the saboteur.

July 1947

Fire Boat No. 2 maneuvering along side of Berth 154, the American President Lines pier and warehouse, where it succeeded in stopping the fire at this point.  The fire in the background is the burning tanker, the S. S. Markay.

At the time the picture was taken, Boat 2 was using its forward turret, "Big Bertha" and Rail Standees.

August 1954

Fire Boat 2 in action during the fire at the San Pedro Marine Terminal of the Tidewater Associated Oil Co.
                 Photo: By Bullard

Los Angeles' Fire Boat No. 2 cools endangered tanks during a three-alarm fire, June 29, 1954, at the San Pedro Marine Terminal of Tide Water Associated Oil Company.  Starting at 6:25 p.m., explosions and fires quickly engulfed 11 of the 17 storage tanks in the facility.  Moored beside the boat is Fireboat No. 3.

April 1960

Wharf Fire

April 1962

L.A.'s brand new fire boat leads her elder sisters, Fire Boat #2 and Fire Boat #1 up the main channel as she arrives in the Port of Los Angeles on February 22, 1962.

May 1965

Adorned by beautiful Fire Service Day Queen Margaret Mason (and their respective crews), L.A.F.D.'s Fire Boats 2, 4 and 1 display the gold-lettered names newly affixed to their bows.  Photo by Lyons.

March 1967

Fireboat 2 attacking simulated dock fire, berth 128, on February 24, 1967.  This was part of "Operation West Basin" training program.  The shot was taken from the Department helicopter by Bob Praskin.

August 1970

The S. S. Pontos cargo ship fire, which occurred June 20 at Berth 49 at the harbor.

February 1977


The stern and bow sections of the 70,000 ton oil tanker Sansinena are a grim reminder of the ship's explosion that rocked San Pedro Harbor and surrounding neighborhoods.

Photo by Meadows

March 1988

The outstanding cover photograph of two LAFD Fire Boats was taken by Mr. Wilton S. Tifft.  Mr. Tifft is a former Fire Chief with the Derrick City Volunteer Fire Department in Pennsylvania and specializes in architectural, corporate, industrial and editorial photography.  He has had two books published and is the recipient of many awards in his field.

Poster Available

The cover photo is available at the Relief Association Office in four color poster form for $5.00.  Proceeds from the poster sale are contributed to the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen's Fund.


Copyright 2000 All Rights Reserved.