Now Being Constructed at Wilmington, Del. —To Use Diesel Engine for Power for Pumps and Propulsion—Fire-Fighting Appliances

THERE is now under construction at the Harlan plant of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at Wilmington, Del., a fire boat for the city of Houston, Tex., which has been designed by Cox & Stevens, naval architects and marine engineers of New York City, and which is being constructed under their supervision. Realizing the importance of having a fire boat in the port of Houston as a result of the largely increasing shipping activities, the authorities in charge made an exhaustive study of the situation before selecting the firm to handle this important project. The architects themselves made a further investigation of the whole subject, took into consideration what had been accomplished in the various ports of the United States in fire boat design, and also gave most serious consideration to the possible adoption of Diesel electric power in the new boat.

The New Houston, Tex., Fire Boat, as She Will Appear When Completed.

Decide Upon Diesel-Electric Power

As a result it was decided that the Diesel-electric power feature would be incorporated into the design, this type^ of engine having many decided advantages for a fire boat. Not only is the fuel economy of the Diesel engine taken advantage of, but as the fire boat is really a power house moved from point to point by its own machinery and carrying a powerful pumping system with it, the Diesel-electric combination forms an ideal installation.

Electricity is produced by three large Diesel-electric generators situated amidships, the current thus formed being sufficient not only at full capacity to supply all the fire-fighting appliances on the boat, but also and without interruption to propel the boat itself through the use of motors attached directly to the shafting. The advantages of the flexibility of this type are obvious, as at any time the current can be directed where most needed, either to accelerate the speed of the boat through the water or to produce maximum discharge of water for fire-fighting purposes as may be desired.

Side Cross-Section of New Fire Boat Now Being Constructed for Houston, Tex.

In addition, another great advantage of this design is the reduction in stand-by losses as compared with a steam operated fire boat. With the Diesel equipment, no fuel need be consumed whatever when the vessel is lying idle, except what is necessary for lighting and sanitary purposes. Immediately upon an alarm of fire being received, the full power of the vessel can be produced at once and she can leave for her destination ready to meet any emergency as promptly as the crew of the vessel can go to their respective stations.

Diesel Engine for Use in New Fire Boat of Houston, Tex.

Plan and Dimensions of Boat

The dimensions of the fire boat are as follows:

The vessel is built of steel throughout, in excess of the requirements of the classification societies, which produces a rugged hull that can be worked along side of docks or against any vesels without damage. The hull is of the flush deck type with moderate freeboard and rather straight sheer and has a high bulwark extending fully around the boat from stem to stern.

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The machinery is placed practically amidships, the officers’ and crew’s quarters being on the berth deck forward and the berth deck aft being assigned to an engineer’s workshop, with quarters for the engine-room department. The galley and mess room are in the deck house forward of the stack, upon which is located the pilot house and the usual navigation instruments.

After considering the various makes of apparatus in the market, it was finally determined that a combination of the Diesel engines manufactured by the Winton Engine Works of Cleveland, Ohio, and the electrical equipment furnished by the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, of Pittsburgh, Pa., offered the best solution of the problem. Accordingly, there will be installed in the engine room two 350 k.w. Diesel-electric units, and one 100 k.w. Diesel-electric units, the larger machines being operated by 500 h. p. Winton Diesel engines and the smaller by a Diesel engine of the same manufacture of smaller capacity. A brief description of the power plant is as follows:

The Electric Power

The electric power will be generated by two Model 115, 500 h. p., Winton six cylinder, four cycle, Diesel type engines, each developing 550 h. p. at 425 r. p. m., each engine driving at 420 r. p. m., the 350 k.w., 500 volt Westinghouse generators and the 25 k.w., 125 volt exciters which can instantly be switched by the Ward Leonard system of pilot house and engine room control motors from the two 360 h. p., 500 volt, single armature propulsion motors to the two 410 h. p., 500 volt fire pump motors, or the power can be divided between the propulsion and the pump motors, or any one or all of the motors can be disconnected from the power circuit. The revolutions of the propulsion motors can be varied and held in any speed driving the propellers from 0 to 265 revolutions per minute in either direction.

The Fire Pumps

The fire pumps, two in number, were built by the Worthington Pump and Machinery Corporation of New York City, each pump being directly connected to and mounted on a common bed plate with a Westinghouse 410 h. p., 500 volt motor. The pumps are single stage centrifugal high-speed type, each pump guaranteed to deliver 3,500 gallons of salt water per minute against a total dynamic head of 150 pounds pressure per square inch when operating at 1,750 revolutions per minute.

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The pumps are also to be arranged in series so that the discharge of one pump will be the intake of the other pump. Under this condition the capacity is to be 3,500 g. p. m. against a total pressure of 300 pounds per square inch at the same speed ami to utilize not more than 820 brake horse power. The pumps have a 14-inch suction pipe line and a 12-inch discharge pipe line. The pump castings are horizontally split so that access may be had to the rotating element without disturbing the suction or discharge piping. The pump casings are of cast iron, impellers of bronze and the shaft of brass-covered steel.

Auxiliary Engine When All Power is in Use

When all the power of the main generating units will be required for the fire pump motors, an auxiliary engine driving a 100 k.w., 270 volt double armature Westinghouse generator will supply power for propulsion and maneuvering. This flexibility of power manipulation, which is not possible with any other form of drive, will enable the pilot to maneuver the fire boat to a most advantageous position and at the same time control the flow of water up to 7000 g. p. m. against 150 pounds pressure for fighting fires. The propelling motors are designed to give additional power so that the fire boat can be used for emergency towing purposes thus making it possible to tow a burning vessel away from adjacent harbor traffic, piers and docks.

The auxiliary equipment of the vessel consists of two Winton Model 99 salt and fresh water pumps, a Winton Model 102 air compressor set, a Winton Model 100 fire and bilge pump and a Winton Model 99 fuel oil transfer pump.

Main Fire Fighting Equipment

The main fire fighting equipment of the vessel, above decks consists of four deck turret nozzles and a water tower nozzle. The water tower which is located at about one-third of the vessels length forward from the stern is constructed of structural steel, with a 2000 gallon Invincible Woodhouse Type nozzle mounted on the mast of the tower equipped with a 2 1/2-inch discharge tip for general fire fighting purposes. The main supply pipe of the water tower is 4 1/2 inches in diameter. The tower nozzle is operated by gears from an operating platform built part way up toward the top of the tower. The upper portion of the tower mast and the stack of the vessel as well are so constructed that the vessel can pass under bridges of a certain specified height.

In addition to the above main water tower, two other water towers or turrets are located practically amidships, one on each side of the vessel, aft of the stack, each of these two turrets having mounted upon them an Invincible Woodhouse Type turret nozzle. The base of each of the two turrets are provide with nine 3 1/2 inch outlets, each outlet fitted with brass gate valves with reducers to fit 2 1/2-inch, 3-inch and 3 1/2-inch fire hose, this arrangement allowing for the laying of eighteen separate lines of hose to fires on shore or elsewhere from these two turrets if necessary. Each of the two turrets have 10 inch flange inlet openings and 4 1/2-inch outlet openings to the nozzles. These two turret nozzles are operated from a platform built above the main deck and on a level with the roof of the main deck house.

Rail Connections Also Provided

In addition to the nine outlets on each of the two turrets there are four 2 1/2-inch hose connections on each side of the main deck along the bulwarks. These rail connections extend through openings in the bulwarks facing outboard, and are for making hose connections from the outboard side of the vessel.

An Invincible Woodhouse turret nozzle is mounted on top of the pilot house and another of the same type mounted on the forward or forecastle deck, the inlets to these nozzles being 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Five polished brass Woodhouse rail holders for 2 1/2-inch hose lines are part of the fire fighting equipment on the boat; these rail holders fitting in sockets around the rail of the vessel. The vessel will be equipped with all kinds of up-to-date fire fighting tools and appliances that make up the equipment of a modern fire boat.

In connection with the general construction of the vessel, care has been taken not only with the generating and power plant, and all the details of operation, but also in the careful selection of the fire fighting equipment. As a result, the authorities of the Port of Houston, Tex. may be fairly well satisfied that the boat which is being built for them and now well on toward completion, is in advance over all fire boats that have as yet been constructed and will be a model for the designing of such future boats.

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Funds Raised in Sound Beach, Conn., for Apparatus—A fund has been started in Sound Beach, Conn., with $5,000 for the purchase of a Seagrave city service truck with a 750-gallon pumper on it.

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New Engines Saves Fuel at Salem, N. J.—By the installation of Diesel oil-burning engines at the Salem Water Works in Quinton, the daily fuel bill of $35 during the operation of the steam pumps has been cut down to $7.30 by the use of oil engines.

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