Boat Specifications
Fire Boat No. 2

The following article was prepared for the Grape Vine by Captain M. P. Allen of Fire Boat No. 2-A in response to the large number of members of the department who have recently visited the quarters of the boat seeking information as to it's construction and operation.

BUILT by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Contract price, $232,000 for hull, motors, pumps and turrets.

    Fire Boat No. 2, Boat Tenders No. 1 and No. 2 and all hose and equipment for them were built from money supplied by a bond issue of 1924, for fire boats. Boat No. 2 was placed in commission December 2, 1925.

    Complement of crew as follows: Two fire captains alternating in charge; two pilots, alternating, responsible for navigation and other duties; two mates, responsible for maintenance and relief pilots; six engineers, alternating three on duty each shift, responsible for engine room; two autofiremen, alternating, same duties as engineers; fourteen firemen, alternating, seven on duty each shift, various duties.


    Length overall 99.03 feet. Length between perpendiculars, 93.04 feet. Beam 19.06 feet. Depth 9.7 feet. Draft 6.9 feet.

    Boat is all steel construction of 106.82 gross tons, 74 net tons. It is triple screw, propelling power being supplied by a Winton 300 H.P. gasoline engine directly connected to the center propeller shaft, and two Hall-Scott 640 H.P. gasoline engines, one on port propeller shaft and one on starboard propeller shaft.

    The boat attains speed of 15 statute miles per hour. Center propeller is 27 inches in diameter and wing props are 48 inches in diameter.

    Two of the engines, Nos. 5 and 6, the Hall-Scotts, are equipped with 3-to-1 reduction gear when connected to the propeller shafts by marine clutches, and they can e disconnected from propeller shaft and connected to pumps by means of manually operated internal external gears. They can be used on propeller shafts and pumps simultaneously in emergency.

    Engine room arrangement is as follows: Five Winton gasoline engines, 6 cylinders each, 300 H.P. at 1200 R.P.M.; two Hall-Scott gasoline engines, 12 cylinders each, 640 H.P. at 2100 R.P.M. Nos. 1 and 2 Wintons are directly connected to fire pumps. Nos. 3 and 4 Wintons are directly connected to pumps and in addition are fitted with 4 - inch piping extending to the bilges of boat, enabling them to take suction and pump out water in case of a leak which the regular bilge pump will not displace.

    Nos. 5 and 6, Hall Scotts, as previously mentioned, are interchangeable with propeller shafts or pump gears and in addition are fitted with 2 1/2-inch piping extending to the bilges, enabling them to take suction and aid in the pumping out of water in case of a major leak in the hull.

    Two Hall-Scott, 4-cylinder engines each of 50 H.P. are used to drive Westinghouse electric generators. Each generator is of 25 kilowatts, 125 volt capacity. They are located, one each side of the boat while one will carry the entire electric load of the boat the other is in reserve in case of breakdown or overhaul.

    Starting power for all the engines is supplied by a bank of 16 storage batteries (12 volt) connected in parallel series which drives the starting motors of the engines. There are 3 12-volt auxiliary batteries for generators, radio, and stool pigeons. The bank of batteries also provided a 24-volt electric lighting circuit to all parts of the boat including navigation lights which can be used in case of emergency.

    Fuel for engines is carried: 1,024 gallons of gasoline in forward tank compartment, separated from engine room by a watertight bulkhead; 1,132 gallons of gasoline in after tank compartment, separated from engine room by a watertight bulkhead. Total capacity, 2,156 gallons, provides a 10-hour supply with all engines operating at peak load.

    One hundred gallons of lubricating oil is carried in reserve tank.

    Fuel is supplied to each engine by gravity and fuel pump systems. Generators are supplied y fuel pump system only.

    Six Byron-Jackson centrifugal pumps (four stage) each with a capacity of 1,700 gallons per minute at 200 pounds net pump pressure, supply water to manifolds and battery nozzles. Each pump will furnish water to any part of the system and discharge is controlled by a hydraulic valve.

    Hydraulic valve operation: All major gate valves controlling discharge from pumps to manifold and turrets are opened and closed by means of a hydraulically operated piston attached to the gate valve stem. The hydraulic system uses oil, but if a breakdown occurs the valves may be operated by either air or water pressure with the aid of by-pass valves.

    A 1 1/2-inch gear pump driven by a 5 H.P. electric motor is used to maintain a pressure of 150 to 175 pounds on feed lines to hydraulic cylinders when pumps are in operation.

    Electric driven blowers in engine room provide a change of air every five minutes, preventing an accumulation of dangerous gases and fumes.

    An electric motor driven air compressor and two large storage tanks provide air for horn or whistle. Also for spray painting. One hundred pounds pressure is maintained on air tanks.

    An electric motor driven bilge pump cares for ordinary leakage and supplemented as described previously with four of the pumps, would enable the boat to reach a safe mooring in the event of mishap to the hull.

    Three "stool pigeons" or electric sirens are located, one in the bilge of each of three compartments, which are activated and sounded by floats when water in the bilges reaches an unsafe level.

    Two type "A" carbon dioxide extinguishers are carried in engine room in case engine backfires and ignites carburetor.

    Navigation of the boat is made safe as follows: Manually operated telegraphs are provided from pilot house to engine room for each marine or propelling engine. A speaking tube is also provided . Regular navigation lights as required by U. S. government regulations are installed. Two electric systems provide electricity for lights. Hand steering gear is used. An air horn and two electric driven sirens are used for signals. Two electric searchlights are available for use at night, also a "back-up" searchlight directed astern from tower. Baker standard magnetic compass, and regular checked courses run at fog speed provide safety for the boat in case of navigation foggy weather.

    Fire Fighting Equipment

    Water tower battery nozzle can be elevated 12 feet, allowing the use of a high pressure stream 42 feet above the water line. Tips for same range from 2 to 4 inches. Controlled either from deck or from platform 24 feet above deck. Tower nozzle is raised or lowered electrically with switches at both deck and platform and can be raised or lowered while stream is flowing.

    Battery nozzle "Big Bertha" on top of pilot house with tips ranging from 3 1/2 to 6 inches. When using 6-inch tip this nozzle can discharge the entire capacity of all six pumps, throwing a steam about 300 feet. Two battery nozzles, located one on each side of boat near the stern, tips range from 2 to 4 inches. One battery nozzle located in center line of boat near bow, tips range from 2 to 4 inches.

    Control valves for all battery nozzles (hydraulic operation) are located directly under each nozzle with the exception of the tower nozzle. Control valve for tower nozzle may be operated either from deck or tower platform.

    All battery nozzles are fitted with worm gears for raising and lowering the tips of same or directing then in a horizontal direction. Large hand wheels are provided for turning these gears. All battery nozzles traverse 360 degrees horizontally and can be directed from the surface of the water upward to approximately an 87 degree angle.

    A manifold of 24 outlets each 3 1/2 inches in diameter is placed, 12 on each side of the boat aft of the deckhouse. Each outlet is controlled with a straight handle jack valve manually operated. Bleeders are provided under each outlet and water from same is piped overboard.

    Three 3 1/2-inch Gleeson valves are carried. One is carried on the 3 1/2-inch hose on the after hose reel with fittings in this order: 3 1/2-inch shutoff butt on the hose, Gleeson valve next, then a siamese reducer from 3 1/2 to two 2 1/2-inch outlets, one of these outlets is fitted with a 2 1/2-inch shutoff butt closed, the other outlet is left open and is used when a 2 1/2-inch line is laid. If the fire is on the wharf some distance from the boat a 3 1/2-inch line with these fittings attached is laid from reel to fire, uncoupled at reel and connected to manifold outlet, then 2 1/2-inch hose is connected to Gleeson valve assembly, giving pressure control at a point near the fire. A second ling of 2 1/2-inch hose if needed, is connected to shutoff butt on siamese, giving two lines from the same control point. One 3 1/2-inch Gleeson valve with a duplication of the above described fittings is connected to an 8-foot section of 3 1/2-inch hose, is carried in the equipment room, but on response to an alarm is taken out, placed on deck under manifold, and connected to manifold outlet by short section of 3 1/2-inch hose. Then lines of 2 1/2-inch hose is laid from siamese of Gleeson valve assembly and used on ship fires, etc., near the boat. One 3 1/2-inch Gleeson valve is carried in rack in equipment room.

    Three 2 1/2-inch Gleeson valves are carried in equipment room one of them being connected to an 8-foot section of 2 1/2-inch hose and this one upon response to an alarm is taken out, placed on deck under manifold and connected to manifold outlet by the short section and 3 1/2-inch to 2 1/2-inch reducer. This line is then siamesed down to one or two 1 1/2-inch lines. Two 2 1/2-inch Gleeson valves are carried in racks.

    Pressures from all hand lines are regulated by means of Gleeson valves, because frequently high pressure streams from turrets are being used at the same time as the hand lines. High pressure for fog applicators and lines from rail standees is also required at times.


     Rail standees or nozzle holders which clamp onto the rail of the boat allow direction of high pressure streams from 3 1/2-inch or 2 1/2-inch nozzles by one man.

    Standee extensions or nozzle holders fitted over the guard of boat and secured to the rail provide high pressure streams from 3 1/2 and 2 1/2-inch nozzles at the water line which give sufficient penetration to cover the depth of most wharves and knock down fire underneath wharves.

    Siamese connections, reducers, and double and female connections for all sizes of fire hose are carried, making possible any combination of connections which may be required.

    Distributor nozzles and Akwood cellar pipes are carried. M. & M. ejector, hose roller, special made heavy bars for wharf fires, roof ladder, 20-foot extension ladder, Campbell ladder, pike poles, boat hooks, grappling hooks, Scully drags, life preservers, sledges, axes, rope in various lengths and in sizes from 5/16-inch to 2 inches in diameter, wire cutters, two type "D" carbon dioxide extinguishers, two Grether lanterns, complete first aid kit, two woolen blankets, chain hoist, complete set of tools for engine room, U. S. flags, kerosene lanterns, etc., are carried.

    A 900-pound carbon dioxide system (18 50-pound cylinders) is installed over the engine room hatch. System piping is manifolded to give protection to engine room through pipes in each side of same with 12 outlets on each side of engine room. A separate pipe leads to the forward fuel compartment and two outlets are provided there. Another pipe leads to the after fuel compartment where there are three outlets. A reel is located on each side of the boat with 100 feet of flexible metallic hose on each reel and a 7-foot pin type nozzle for each hose line. One hundred feet of metallic hose is carried in forward hold which can be used to extend line, giving a 200-foot line for use on fires aboard ships, etc. The direction of the flow of the CO2 is controlled by valves in the piping.

    Hose is carried as follows: 1000 feet of 3 1/2-inch hose on after reel; 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose on port side reel forward of deck house; 500 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose on one side of divided reel, starboard side forward of deck house; 500 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose on other side of divided reel.

    Four Gibbs self-contained oxygen breathing apparatus (2 hour), two M.S.A. hose masks with 100 feet of hose for each which is connected to hand operated blowers provide protection for members when working in places where sufficient oxygen is lacking or noxious gases are present. Two Burrell all service gas masks are provided to protect men working in dense smoke and carbon monoxide gas, but where sufficient oxygen is known to be present as for example fighting fire under wharves from skiff.

    An H & H inhalator equipped with two feed lines to permit working on two people at the same time, with spare oxygen and carbonate cylinders, and adapter coil for 220 cubic foot oxygen bottle is carried.

    An acetylene cutting torch with large cylinders of oxygen and acetylene mounted on a hand truck to permit mobility is carried. Various sizes of tips are used.

    Two-way radio maintained by police department radio technicians is installed. This permits direct conversation with Fire Boat 1, Fire Boat 3, and Battalion Chief of Battalion 6. Also direct conversation with all control points of police department station KGPL.

    Portable telephones and 300 feet of cable on a reel provide communication at fires.

    A sound amplifier which carries the voice distinctly for 1,000 feet is carried with speaker mounted on top of pilot house and microphone located inside pilot house.

    Four portable flood lights are carried. Three light cable reels with over 300 feet of cable on each are provided.

    A 30-foot jacobs ladder for use in boarding vessels is carried.

    An electrical "hot plate" of 2,000 watt capacity, a 2 1/2-gallon aluminum coffee pot, coffee, sugar, milk, and cups are carried.

    Fourteen 3 1/2-inch Metropolitan shutoff nozzles.

    Eleven 2 1/2-inch Metropolitan shutoff nozzles.

    Five 1 1/2-inch Metropolitan shutoff nozzles.

    One 2 1/2 Fognozl fog No. 3-A.

    Two 2 1/2-inch Fognozl with 4 and 10-foot applicators for each.

    One 3 1/2-inch special deluge nozzle for fires underneath wharves.

    One 2 1/2-inch special deluge nozzle for fires underneath wharves.

    Two 1 1/2-inch Fognozl with 4 and 10-foot applicators for each.

    Two 1 1/2-inch Camcone nozzles.

    Two 1 1/2-inch Mystery nozzles.

    A Floating Monitor, with various sizes of tips for nozzle and propelling jet is provided for use on fires underneath wharves when tide is to high for use of hose streams from standees or attack from skiff.


This article appeared in the March 1945 issue of THE FIREMAN'S GRAPE VINE.

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