Baltimore’s New Fireboat Fast, Powerful, Maneuverable

Baltimore’s New Fireboat Fast, Powerful, Maneuverable

The “Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr.” Can Discharge 12,000 Gpm while Moving at Full Speed of 17 Mph

Pride of the Baltimore Fire Department’s fireboat fleet, the Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. undergoes trials on the Delaware River

THE NEWEST ADDITION to the nation’s fireboats was accepted by the City of Baltimore and its fire department on September 14, 1956, with fitting dedication ceremonies at the quarters of the Fireboat “Cataract,” Pier 7, Baltimore.

Saluted by all harbor craft, and with Niagaras of water thrown skyward by escorting fireboats of the fire department’s marine fleet, the new acquisition proceeded up the harbor with notables of the city government, fire department and its builders aboard to the pier, where she was met by a large crowd of assembled guests, including Maryland’s Governor, Theodore R. McKeldin, Congressmen Edward A. Garmatz and Samuel N. Friedel, members of the City Council, Fire Commission and others.

Among die attending visitors were Deputy Fire Commissioner and Chief George E. Hink of Philadelphia; Chief Millard H. Sutton, District of Columbia Fire Department; Chief Anthony Orban and Deputy Chief Lee Cocky of the Baltimore County Fire Department; former Baltimore Fire Chief Howard Travers and the editor of FIRE ENGINEERING, Roi Woolley.

Following the dedication ceremonies and inspection of the vessel, a buffet luncheon was served.

Based on performance tests, the “Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr.” has exhibited unusual maneuverability, speed, power and pumping capacity, all achieved at an unusually moderate price.

The 103-foot fireboat was designed by Thomas D. Bowes, noted Philadelphia naval architect and engineer, and built in the Camden, N. J., yards of the RTC Shipbuilding Corp. Powered by a pair of 660 bp Fairbanks-Morse diesels, the twin-screw vessel ran a measured mile at 17 statute miles per hour smoothly and without vibration.

An important feature of the new boat is her ability to maneuver at full speed, utilize full power to tow a burning or disabled ship, and at the same time to deliver full volume of water (12,000 gpm) to fight the fire. A separate pair of diesels drives the Fairbanks-Morse fire Continued on page 1070 pumps, independent of propulsion engines.

Diagram silhouette shows lines of new boot with location of turreis, mast, hose reels. Loud speakers are carried on the mast


Continued from page 1063

The “Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr.” is said to handle easily at full speed. On tests the vessel turned at full speed in a circle just one and a half times her length and made a crash reverse in less than two lengths.

The ever-growing tonnage handled through the world port of Baltimore calls for the best harbor fireboat protection available. Baltimore had not added to its fireboat fleet since 1921 and was placing dependence on four aging vessels, the diesel-powered “Cascade,” a World War I submarine chaser obtained in 1921, and three old steam fireboats, the “Cataract” built in 1891 and rebuilt in 1914, the “Deluge” put in service in 1911 and the “Torrent” built in 1921.

hollowing a survey of harbor fire protection requirements, made by Baltimore Fire Chief Michael H. Lotz and Thomas D. Bowes, M. E., naval architect, Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr. and the Board of Fire Commissioners authorized the new fireboat.

Construction specifications

The survey indicated that the new boat should be capable of covering as much waterfront as any two of the old fireboats and the following characteristics were decided upon:

Type—Twin screw diesel fireboat Construction—All welded steel Classification—American Bureau of Shipping

Fire fighting characteristics — National Board of Fire Underwriters Length over all—103 feet, 8 inches Length between perpendiculars—100 feet, 0 inches

Beam molded—21 feet, 8 1/2 inches Depth molded—11 feet, 11 1/2 inches Draft—7 feet, 8 inches Water capacity—12,000 gpm at 150 psi Foam capacity—320,000 gallons in 20 minutes

Speed—16 statute miles per hour Propulsion bhp—1320 bhp at 1200 rpm Pumping engines—Two 660 bhp or a total of 1320 bhp at 1200 rpm

Preliminary experiments by Professor Louis A. Baier in the University of Michigan Experimental Model Basin, indicated a possible speed of 17 mph if displacement could be held to 175 tons.

The engines selected were FairbanksMorse Model 38F51/4 opposed-piston diesel.

The four identical engines, each with eight cylinders, 5 1/4-inch bore and 7 1/4 -inch stroke are rated at 660 hp at 1200 rpm. Included are Purolator fuel and bypass lube filters, Air-Maze intake air filter-silencers and full-flow lube filters, Kewanee-Ross oil coolers and heat exchangers, Fairbanks-Morse cooling water pumps and Woodward governors.

Total combined weight of all four diesels, including mounted accessory

equipment and the reverse-reduction gears on the propulsion engines, is approximately 31 tons. This represents 2,640 hp. ‘

The two propulsion engines drive 4blade bronze Ferguson propellers through Snow-Nabstedt reverse-reduction gears with a ratio of 3.79 to 1. There are dual Westinghouse air brake engine controls in the pilot house and the helmsman has instant control of the vessel s power. The high degree of maneuverability of the boat is due in large measure to the special type twin rudders operated by a standard C. H. Wheeler electrohydraulic, Rapson’s Slide steering gear, powered by a variable and reversible piston-type pump. The Wheeler steering gear provides automatic and instantaneous hand steering in the event of electric power failure. Fire fighting potential for all-weather, round-the-clock service is enhanced by RCA radar and Motorola ship-to-shore telephone.

Plenty of pumping power

Next to speed and maneuverability is ability to throw water. Heart of the craft’s fire fighting system is a pair of 10-inch Fairbanks-Morse horizontal splitcase centrifugal fire pumps, each rated at 6,250 gpm at a discharge pressure of 150 pounds. Each pump is driven by its 660 hp Fairbanks-Morse diesel at 1200 rpm through an Airflex coupling-clutch. Together the two pumps provide an assured volume of 12,000 gpm whether the boat is standing beside a dock or moving with full speed and propulsion power.

Water is delivered at 150 pounds pressure to four big Mclntire fire monitors, one forward, one aft, one on top of the pilot house and one on a tower rising 20 feet above the deck house roof (28 feet above the main deck). In addition, a special type valved manifold is provided on deck with ten 3 1/2-inch outlets. With this manifold design, it is possible to run all hose lines off the bow, stem, port or starboard side of the ship without looping the hose. When it is not necessary for the fireboat to act as a pumping station, Siamese fittings on each of the 3 1/2inch swivel ells permit 20 smaller hose lines to be operated.

The fire pumps may be put in series and pressure can be raised to 300 psi at reduced quantity, a desirable feature when the fireboat is pumping into shore high pressure fire mains. It is possible also for the boat to project 320,000 gallons of foam a distance of 120 feet in 20 minutes. Foam handling is fully automatic, being accomplished with a special Fairbanks-Morse rotary pump which proportions the foam liquid.

With all the power and fire fighting equipment,, there are ample quarters for eight men (with a complete washroom) in the forecastle and for a ninth man in the deck house. In addition to the roomy pilot house, a large combination lounge, galley and messroom is provided for the crew in the deck house, equipped with an electric refrigerator, electric stove, sink, drinking fountain and other facilities.

Provision of quarters for the crew is desirable because the vessel is manned 24 hours a day; thus the previous shore fire station can be eliminated. The new craft which will replace the old fireboat “Torrent,” will effect other savings by eliminating the oil burned to keep up steam on the “Torrent’s” boilers. With the diesels, the engines can be started in seconds and use no fuel until they go to work. All in all, fire department officials estimate that savings will pay the entire cost of the new fireboat in seven years.

The delivery price of the completed “Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr.” ready for operation was approximately $550,000, said to be the lowest cost per gallon of projected water of any modern fireboat. □□

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