Buffalo Takes Delivery of Its Rebuilt Fireboat

Buffalo Takes Delivery of Its Rebuilt Fireboat

The Buffalo, N. Y., Fire Department recently took delivery of its rebuilt fireboat which had been renovated at a cost of $364,700 by the Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.

Harold R. Becker, then Commissioner, said the ship also has been renamed the “Firefighter,” instead of the “W. S. Grattan” as before.

The decision to rebuild the 53-yearold ship, rather than purchase a new one, was made after an engineer thoroughly studied the craft a year ago. He found the Swedish iron hull of the boat was in good shape.

As she now stands after the seven month renovation job, the “Firefighter” is equipped with four diesel engines, each capable of 500 horsepower and two other engines which generate the boat’s electric power. The boat formerly was steam-operated. In tests after delivery, all five turret guns tested at 16,100 gallons per minute.

The two main engines are Caterpillar D397 Diesel marine power units and are connected to pumps with Twin-Disc power take-off.

The four two-stage, centrifugal pumps were manufactured by Dean Hill Pump Company of Indianapolis and each delivers 3750 gpm at a discharge pressure of 160 psi.

The power take-offs on the propulsion engines permit pumping from all four engines when maximum gpm is required. The marine gears are put in neutral when the engines are used for pumping.

Radio equipment was engineered by Joseph A. Fahrner, Fire Department radio supervisor. It includes a 60-watt Motorola transmitter on the Department’s frequency and a 30-watt RCA Marine Transmitter on Channel 50 and 3402.5 Coast Guard frequency by special arrangement to permit the “FIREFIGHTER” close contact with Coast Guard craft in the Buffalo harbor. In addition there is a 75-watt combination public address and intercommunication system for contact between fore and aft, the engine room and the pilot house. The shipboard communications also includes the usual equipment in all fire houses, the Department’s dial phone system and voice alarm.

Commissioner Becker said the rebuilt craft has increased pumping capacity, more armor belt for breaking ice and twin propellers instead of one as before. He estimated that the ship will pay for the renovation in terms of reduced operating costs.

The “Firefighter” also is equipped with a 12-foot hydraulically operated mast with turret gun. Another innovation is an acoustical telephone booth in the engine room. Here, a crewman may poke his head between soundproofed walls and talk on the phone above the roar of the Diesels.

When the “Firefighter” returned to the Queen City of the Lakes, she was met by the department’s amphibious “Duk.”

Commissioner Becker, who found the ship can now operate easier in shallower water and has more all-round maneuverability, named Captain Howard A. Metzger, formerly of Engine 15, skipper. Coast Guard units and the “duk” have been used as standby equipment while the fireboat was in drydock and together fought several extra alarm fires during the seven months she was away.

The Firefighter, Buffalo’s 118-foot, 188-ton fireboat, after the conversion to Diesel. The vessel is capable of throwing 15,000 gpm of water, has improved maneuverability, considerably greater efficiency and economy.Patrick J. Mullane, right, master of the fireboat, shows Mayor Joseph Mruk, center, and former Commissioner Harold R. Becker, left, one of the 500-horsepower Diesel marine engines which propel the Firefighter.

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