Towing Line Salutes New York’s Fireboats

Towing Line Salutes New York’s Fireboats

Bells, Buffs and Blazes

The marine division of the New York City Department is saluted in the spring issue of Tow Line, published by Moran Towing & Transportation Co., Inc., operator of the world’s largest tugboat fleet.

The excellence of the issue, which is almost wholly devoted to New York’s fireboats, is rapidly making it a collector’s item and the editor Jeff Blinn, reports that he is unable to supply extra copies.

Featured in Two Line are action photographs of the FDNY fireboats. But what is especially eye-catching is a superb centerfold spread of sketches of New York’s fireboat stations.

The lead article in the Tow Line issue describes the marine division, headed by Assistant Chief Joseph F. Connor, and discusses its organization. The marine fire fighting problem in the New York port is graphically told by statistics.

“Their responsibility covers 267 miles of waterfront comprising 428 piers and terminals in a port capable of handling more than 4,000 small craft and 15,000 ocean-going vessels annually,” says the magazine.

“The New York port complex, because of its high population density and enormous use of petroleum products, is an extremely high fire risk area. For example, there are over 4 billion gallons of storage capacity for oil and oil products around the shoreline in 277 separate facilities . . . During 1968, approximately 2,500 tankers of all types entered the port.”

Another feature in the issue was written by Assistant Chief Clarence Meek, who is no stranger, of course, to the columns of Fire Engineering, where his historical articles appear. Meek traces the history of the FDNY fireboat fleet from the first boat, which was “hardly more than a large rowboat in which was installed a hand pump manned by a third of its 24-man volunteer crew.”

A publication which is of interest to fire fighters and buffs alike has made its appearance. The 1970 edition of The Visiting Fireman is thicker than ever and contains a cornucopia of riches sure to delight readers.

The Visiting Fireman is jam-packed with information on club and other fire buff activities, including data on the International Fire Buff Associates and radio frequencies. If you’re looking for a club to join, a buff with whom to correspond, or just have an interest in historical and contemporary firemanics, this is the book for you. It’s available for $1.75, postpaid, from Al Burch, The Visiting Fireman, 5752 Courville Road, Detroit, Mich., 48224.

From Ron Jeffers, 3417 Hudson Avenue, Jersey City, N.J., comes word of a building collapse during a fire. Fireman John K. Promersperger of the Union City, N.J., Fire Department was killed. Among the injured was Chief Ed Beadle, past president of the IAFC. Fire fighters and buffs recall Fireman Promersperger’s courageous career, which included rescues and the capture of an accused murderer. He is survived by a wife and seven daughters. The Hudson Dispatch of Union City has started a fund for his survivors. Contributions should be sent to the Fireman Promersperger Public Appreciation Fund, Hudson Dispatch, 400-38 Street, Union City, N.J.,

Editor’s Note: Paul Ditzel regrets he is unable to personally answer letters. Material and questions with the widest appeal to readers will be considered for publication and should be sent to him, c/o Box 814, Northridge, Calif. 91324.

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