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BoaT 2 in fronT of The old BoaThouSe on Terminal iSland circa 1970.


fireBoaT 2 emergency operaTionS The “Ralph J. Scott” has been involved


in responding to emergencies in the Port of L.A. for over 77 years. A record that will be hard to match by any response apparatus in years to come. The first major fire fought by this famous boat was aboard the steam schooner “Sierra” which caught fire laden with Douglas fir lumber on March 3, 1926. Boat 2 responded to the first major wharf fire in Decem- ber of 1926 at Berth 175. As the years past the boat fought fires in baled cotton on the docks, fires in refineries and aboard ships, and in warehouses. Several large fires occurred during the 1940’s. 1200 feet of wharf and a warehouse was destroyed on May 14, 1941 at Berth 88 in San Pedro. In 1943, an early morning fire burned the South Coast Cannery near Fish Harbor. Berth 223 was the scene of a disastrous explosion and fire on October 21, 1944 with 16 killed and 50 injured. The fire de- stroyed 200 feet of wharf, 2 Navy vessels, and 25 vehicles. It was June 22, 1947, however, that the firemen of the day recall most vividly. At Berth 167 in Wilmington, the tankship “Markay”. While taking on a cargo of gasoline and butane blend, suddenly exploded killing 11, injuring 22 and set- ting fire to wharves and warehouses located at slip 1. At one point, Boat 2 was forced to plow its way through a sea of fire with its monitors opening the way to protect the upper reaches of the slip. The fire loss was over $5 million. In 1951 Boat 2 pumped into a 10 inch line for several hours to sup- ply water to fire companies fighting a large fire at the Union Oil Refinery. The Matson Terminal fire at Berth 200A in 1960 was burning a large area of the wharf when Boat 2 cut the fire off saving the wharf and a container crane. A grain terminal fire wharf fire in 1967 at Berth 174 found Boat 2 both cutting the fire off and supplying water the LAFD SCUBA divers. On August 8, 1972 a major fire occurred at the General American Transportation Corporation (GATX). Several tanks of various pe- troleum products and chemicals were exploding and burning with one tank rocketing up high into the air and landing on a warehouse roof next to some of the firefighters on the ground. Fireboat


2 pumped through 17 hose lines for over 3 hours. In January of 1974 the Starkist Tuna Cannery caught fire and boat 2 along with the other LAFD fireboats were credited with saving adjacent cannery buildings. The evening of December 17, 1976 was sud- denly shattered by an enormous explosion and fireball in the outer harbor. The super-tanker “San- sinena” had blown in half at her moorings at Berth 46, killing 9 and


injuring 22. Fireboats rescued more than 18 crew- men from the water and boats and land companies fought the fire for many hours. As a result of this catastrophe, a new policy of LAFD tanker inspec- tions was implemented. In 1988 the S.P. slip at Berth 73 was the scene of a major fire involving the wharf and several fishing boats. The quick ac- tion of fireboats and land companies saved hun- dreds of feet of wharf and dozens of fishing boats and their valuable nets.


“Ralph J. Scott” for many to remember and enjoy in the years to come. The boat has truly become a landmark


of the harbor and Los Angeles having been visited by thousands of people and appearing in movies and on television.


looking ahead – The fuTure of The “ScoTT” The Ralph J. Scott was retired after a


record 77 years of continuous service having been replaced by a new more powerful Fireboat 2 capa- ble of pumping more than 38,000 gallons per min- ute. Old Fireboat 2 has certainly become a legend and one the most famous fireboats in the world. The LAFD Historical Society, working with the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Fire Depart- ment, have embarked on a plan to preserve this great historic national landmark for generations to come by placing it near its last firehouse Station 112 at Berth 87. It will be placed in a beautiful setting on land, surrounded with displays, so that people can see and learn about this magnificent fireboat and its service to the citizens of Los An- geles and of course the personnel who worked on it through the decades. The “Scott” is one of only a handful of


BoaT 2 on The aTTack aT The TankShip markay fire 1947.


recogniTion of The hiSToric BoaT On May 8, 1965, Fireboat 2 was re-


named the “Ralph J. Scott” in honor of the pro- gressive fire chief who was involved in the de- velopment of the boat and a special ceremony included a water display parade up the main chan- nel. The water display from Boat 2 is spectacular and was a part of all major harbor celebrations including the “Tall Ships” visit to the Port of L.A. in 2002 and the dedication of the new LAFD Boat 2, the “Warner L. Lawrence” in 2003. Fireboat 2 celebrated its 50th anniver-


sary in 1975 and in 1976, the boat was named a Los Angeles City Historic-Cultural Monument. In 1989 the U.S. National Park Service designated the “Ralph J. Scott” a National Historic Landmark because it possesses national significance in com- memorating the history of the United States of America. On April 12, 2003, a special dedication and retirement ceremony took place in the Har- bor with four new LAFD fireboats replacing four old fireboats. The Ralph J. Scott was retired from service, but not before it was used to dedicate the new LAFD Fireboat 2, and put on a memorable water display.


Because of its significance the “Code 3” model company has made a model of the


remaining fireboats nationwide dating back to the early 20th century. Nearly as old as the Port of Los Angeles itself, the Scott is historically significant at local, state, and national levels, and the Na- tional Park Service lists it as a National Historic Landmark, the highest status conferred to a histor- ic resource. In addition, the Scott is deeply valued at an emotional level by her former crewmembers, residents of San Pedro, and historic ship enthusi- asts from around the world. Because the Scott holds a level of im-


portance rare for firefighting apparatus, planning for her future has been focused on how the vessel can best be preserved. Working for the LAFD and under contract with the Los Angeles Harbor De- partment, a team of historians, and preservation and interpretive specialists from CH2M HILL and Jones and Stokes completed a historic preserva- tion plan for the Scott. The Ralph J. Scott Historic Preserva-


tion Plan provides an overall preservation frame- work as well as specific recommendations. The preservation plan includes: • Historic context • Stabilization plan • Documentation plan • Preservation approach • Interpretive plan • Work plan The preservation of historic marine


vessels provides unique challenges, due to their physical composition and the marine environment in which they are located. In order to preserve a vessel as a historic artifact, a plan needs to be de- veloped for how the vessel will be preserved and maintained, as well as what will be done to facili- tate public access. The selected preservation treat- ment will be the rehabilitation of the vessel for a new use as a museum piece and public interactive


June 2012 • 49


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