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Captain Lawrence in his office in Boat 2’s quarters on Terminal Island.

Battalion Chief Don Cate with Mrs. Ralph J. Scott at the Boat’s 50th birthday. She origi- nally christened the boat when it was launched in San Pedro on October 20, 1925 with a bottle of firefighting foam.

Captain Lawrence receives Board of Fire Commissioners Resolution from Chief Engineer Raymond M. Hill aboard the Princess Louise on October 23, 1969

why Boat 2 must be replaced by a smaller fireboat, Lawrence, the lowest-ranking offi- cer present, was at last asked for his opinions. Lawrence knew full well why the meeting had been called and had thoroughly researched a plan to save the fireboat, although he knew that Hill, once he decided to do something, was notoriously difficult to convince otherwise. Lawrence recognized that a fireboat is a lot like insurance. You rarely make a claim on it and you hope to keep the annual costs low. But you are glad that you paid them when you need help in a hurry.

After more than a quarter of a century

of assignment to Boat 2, Lawrence said a face- lift was needed. He then proceeded to outline to Hill and the others his plan to cost-effectively modernize the boat at far less than the invest- ment in a new boat and a smaller, less power- ful, boat. By rebuilding Boat 2’s controls, they could make the craft more quickly responsive and cheaper to operate. By switching the turrets to remote control operations, one firefighter could operate two turrets, instead of only one. By cutting the crew from 14 to eight, $100,000 a year would be saved. That investment would quickly offset the $238,000 cost of moderniza- tion. Obviously impressed by Lawrence’s fore- thought, Hill changed his mind and agreed to the fireboat’s plan. Boat 2 went into San Pedro’s Fellows

and Stewart Shipbuilding Yard. Emerging a year later, Boat 2 was equipped with new stain- less steel hydraulic turrets, underwater maneu- vering jets, large-capacity underwharf nozzles, hydraulic steering, direct pilothouse control of engines, and many other renovations. Further improvements included the replacement of gasoline engines with diesels. On December 6, 1975, the boat cel-

ebrated its 50th birthday during a civic obser- vance, which attracted thousands to Boat 2’s quarters and adjoining wharves and waterfront

54 • July 2015

vantage points. Among those present was Mrs. Ralph J. Scott, widow of the Chief Engineer, who was largely responsible for acquiring the boat which went into service in 1925. The boat had been renamed the Ralph J. Scott during special ceremonies in May, 1965. Sporting a birthday suit including a

bright red-and-white hull and superstructure, brick-red decking, glistening nozzles and two huge hose reels covered with snappy red jack- ets, Boat 2 was escorted up and down the Main Channel by the other fireboats in the fleet. With Captain Lawrence in the pilothouse, Boat 2 then demonstrated what it could do while its turrets gushed fountains which formed what fireboat firefighters refer to as a flower pot-like display.

Captain Lawrence was himself, amazed

as the boat put out nearly 20,000 gallons- of-water-per-minute. The powerful deluges caused the boat to tilt. Adding melodrama to the flower pot spectacle was the brilliant rain- bow formed by the blending of the turrets’ wa- ter mist with the early afternoon sun. Boat 2 is the oldest in-service apparatus in the LAFD and continued to hold that special recognition, long past the department’s centennial celebra- tion, while serving waterfront fire protection requirements. The stories of Captain Lawrence will

be told for years to come through our Histori- cal Society. One of our missions is to preserve our history and his story of contributions to the LAFD will be available to thousands of people. If the Historical Society was not preserving our rich history – who would? Think about that. That is why those of us who volunteer for the Society are so motivated to make sure we do preserve our history for not only our LAFD members, active and retired, but for people from all over who are interested in the LAFD. To continue this mission we need support in the way of memberships, donations and more vol- unteers.


The Harbor Fire Museum continues to

improve through the acquisition of new display items and the number of visitors. We will be moving some of our apparatus soon, bringing in a new rig and moving others to other loca- tions, some even within the museum to give visitors a better view. We have had a few week- day tours of local school children from pre- school to high school classes. We have even upgraded our gift shop with new cabinet light- ing and displays.

Gordon Briggs giving a tour to students and their instructor Sean Collins. They are study- ing Port history and culture.

Tim Kennoy is ready for business at our new- ly decorated gift shop at the Harbor Museum. Tim is a regular volunteer at the Museum and is the Society’s treasurer.

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