If your plans for the evening of Tuesday, February 17, 1976 don't include attending the retirement dinner for "Mr. Fireboat" maybe you should give some thought to changing your plans.
Warner L. Lawrence, Marine Task Force Commander, Fire Station 112 "A" Platoon, worked his last shift on December 28, 1975 after more than 40 years service to the Los Angeles City Fire Department. Appointed on October 7, 1935 "The Cigar" enjoyed top active duty seniority when he retired, and had served as a "hard hat" diver, Auto Fireman a nd Captain.
Among some of the "momentums" (that's a "Wally Ballism") Capt Lawrence leaves on the job are his son Dean Lawrence, Apparatus Operator at F.S. 61 "B", hose floats and floating monitors for underwharf firefighting and protective tops for fire apparatus, all of which were designed and fabricated by him.
Be sure to make your reservation early because this won't be the standard two phone booth dinner. Phone Fire Station 112 (Fireboat 2) at 832-9232 for reservations.
THE FIREMEN'S GRAPEVINE FEBRUARY, 1976
CAPTAIN WARNER L. LAWRENCE
Fire Boat No. 2
February 1, 1948 to January 1, 1976
Major upgrade improvements were made to Fire Boat 2 in 1969 thanks to plans from fireboat Captain Warner L. Lawrence. Improvements included: a modernized pilot station and engine room (the boats steering wheel was replaced with lever steering controls at this time), new hydraulic stainless steel monitors, six bulwark nozzles, under water maneuvering jets, six bulwark nozzles, under water maneuvering jets, large capacity under-wharf monitors, and a hydraulic lift boom and winches. This modernization and increased effectiveness resulted in the reduction of staffing from 14 crew members to 8. Special equipment and personnel were added to the boat's capability including certified LAFD SCUBA divers for underwharf fire fighting and water rescue operations. The "Scott" was involved in many major harbor emergency incidents which will be included in future articles.
THE FIREMEN'S GRAPEVINE OCTOBER 2004
December 11, 1910
Appointed to the
Los Angeles Fire Department
October 7, 1935
Married to Louise Irene Furman
(Married to Louise for 57 years)
Appointed to Auto Fireman
Assigned to Engine Company 23
Appointed to Captain
August 16, 1943
Assigned to FS 36 and FS 49
Assigned to Fire Boat No. 2
February 11, 1948
Promoted to Captain II
September July 1, 1971
Retired #1 in LAFD Seniority
January 1, 1976
San Pedro, CA
October 4, 1992
Captain Dean Lawrence
William (Bill) Cody Captain LAFD FB2A
Appointment date unknown this generation of Firemen only stayed for 20 years and 20 mins. So he probably came on in 1920 or 1921
Service Pension 10/25/40
DOD 7/22/76 in Corvallis, Oregon
Cause of death---Cardio Shock
December 6, 1975, without question, marked the supreme moment of satisfaction for Capt. Warner Lawrence, A-platoon skipper of Fireboat 2 for 28 of his more than 40 years as a member of the LAFD. That triumphal day was a long time in arriving.
In 1968, Hill, as cost-conscious a chief engineer as ever headed the LAFD, along with other divisionis had decided that Boat 2 was too expensive to operate. It was, moreover, seldom used, especially as wooden wharves and waterfront structures were gradually being replaced by those of fire-resistant construction. Hill made the final decision: Boat 2 was doomed to be sold for salvage.
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 investment in a new boat and a smaller, less powerful, boat at that. 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 modernization. Obviously impressed by Lawrence's forethought, 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 stainless steel hydraulic turrets, underwater maneuvering jets, large-capacity underwharf nozzles, hydraulic steering, direct pilothouse control of engines, and many other renovations. Further improvements, including the replacement of gasoline engines with diesels, continued.
On December 6, 1975, the boat celebrated its 50th birthday during a civic observance which attracted thousands to Boat 2's quarters and adjoining wharves and waterfront 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 jackets, 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 rainbow formed by the blending of the turrets' water 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 celebration,while serving waterfront fire protection requirements.
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