by Capt. Warner L. Lawrence, Fireboat 2
The Port of Los Angeles, California received a major boost to its fire protection when on October 29, 1969, the Fellows and Stewart Division of Harbor Boat Building Company delivered the modernized fireboat RALPH J. SCOTT to the City of Los Angeles Fire Department.
At impressive ceremonies which commenced at dockside, and were concluded with a fireboat water-display and a luncheon aboard the floating restaurant PRINCESS LOUISE, Mr. Gilbert Anderson, President of Harbor Boat Building Company, formally delivered tie fireboat to Chief Raymond M. Hill, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. Mrs. Sam Yorty, wife of Los Angeles' Mayor presented the Chief with a recommissioning pennant. Invited guests included top officials of the shipyard, the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles Harbor Department.
These Ceremonies signaled the formal conclusion of a year of planning and specification writing by L.A.F.D. personnel, followed by a year of work in Fellows and Stewart shipyard.
The RALPH J. SCOTT (Fireboat No. 2) a fireboat of about one-hundred feet in length with a beam of twenty feet, and a pumping capacity of about twelve thousand five-hundred gallons a minute at one-hundred and fifty pounds, was built in 1925. With forty-three uninterrupted years of service the boat had long been in need of modernization. The manpower demands were high and much more effective operation of the boat and firefighting equipment could be obtained.
In 1968 the Los Angeles City Fire Department determined that the boat should be either replaced or modernized. At that time the Fire Department hired a marine engineering firm to inspect the boat to determine its life expectancy. The results of the survey indicated that the life expectancy of the hull was a minimum of twenty years, and that the engines would not need major overhaul or repairs for ten years. On the basis of this informant, the Fire Department elected to modernize FIREBOAT No. 2.
Plans and specifications were drawn up with three principal goals in mind:
1. To reduce the manpower required to operate the boat;
2. To greatly increase the firefighting capability and maneuverability of the boat;
3. To reduce the routine, about-deck, maintenance work.
To reduce manpower, most of the operation of machinery and equipment would have to be changed from direct-manual to remote-electric, air, or hydraulic control at centralized control stations.
To increase the firefighting capability, the water-use ability would have to be increased and speeded up. Increasing the maneuverability meant that power steering, thrusters, and direct control of the propulsion engines would have to be provided for the Pilot.
To reduce the general maintenance above deck, better covering materials would have to be given decks and bright work.
With these goals in mind, the following changes and additions were made:
The five deck and tower monitors were hand-wheel operated and slow to traverse and elevate. These were replaced with polished stainless-steel "Intelligent" monitors, hydraulically powered for both horizontal and vertical travel. Control of all movement is through the operations of a single, pedestal-mounted, control knob.
The control pedestals are so located that one man may operate both the 8" Big Bertha monitor on top of the pilot house and the monitor on the tower at the same time. The same degree of control is provided for the two monitors on the stern. The bow monitor has its own control pedestal. The tower monitor is capable of 360 degrees continuous rotation.
The "rail standees" which were swiveling hose clamps used to attach hose lines to the rail around the main deck, were replaced by three bulwark monitors on each side of the boat towards the bow. These are small "Intelligent" monitors set on the deck and operate out through openings in the bulwark plating. These monitors have 2 1/2" fog nozzles for tips and are manually operated but with push button control of water flow.
For use in control of underwharf fires, two underwharf nozzles designed and built by the Stang Mfg. Co., builders of "Intelligent" monitors, were installed one on each side of the bow just above the waterline. These are 3,000 gpm constant volume nozzles. Push button control of these nozzles is from the pilot house control console. Electric solenoids to hydraulic cylinders at the nozzle give off and on, up and down, and spray to solid stream control.
The main discharge manifolds, one one each side of the deck near the tower, each having twelve 3 1/2" outlets are controlled by easily operated 4" plug valves and the 2 1/2" outlets by 2 1/2" plug and pressure regulator valves.
Six additional pressure regulated 2 1/2" outlets were provided on the foredeck, three on each side near the rail.
An increased demand for water supply on the foredeck was made by the installation of bow thrusters, bulwark nozzles, 2 1/2" outlet manifolds, and underwharf nozzles. To meet this demand, two additional 8" fire mains were tee'd off the two 10" mains in the forward end of the engine room. These 8" mains were run into the forward hold and manifold with the two existing 6" mains to supply the existing foreword monitor and the above heavy stream appliances. To supply the aft thrusters 4" thickwall piping was tee'd off the 14"' fire main crossing the after portion of the engine room.
To replace the "Jacobs" ladder used for boarding a tanker or cargo ship, a power lift boom with a platform basket was installed. This basket operates from deck level to a height of approximately thirty feet above the
FEBRUARY, 1970 7
water line and is designed to lift a 750 lb. load with a 100 per cent minimum overload safety factor. This gives the boat the capability of placing men and equipment on the decks of most vessels. Two control stations are provided, one in the basket, and the other at the head of the engine room gangway. This station has a 25' cord for remote control from various locations on the deck. Safety features included locking side gates on the basket and "pilot pressure" control of hydraulic fluid to lifting cylinder. Horizontal positioning of the basket is by master and slave cylinders. The existing tower to which the boom is attached was engineered and stiffened to withstand the torque stresses imposed by the boom under extreme conditions. The old manually operated capstan on the foredeck was replaced with bow and stern hydraulic warping winches with a line pull of 6,800 lbs. and a line speed of 115 fpm.
To increase equipment storage space, deck storage cabinets were installed. The cabinet design follows the lines of the deck house. Waterproof doors, adjustable shelf brackets, and removable lower panels for access to light reels and CO2 reels are provided. The cabinets, one on each side, also enclose the main discharge manifolds.
For foam application, a 50 gal. "rockwood" foam system was installed in the after section of the nozzle room. The system is piped to discharge either foam or water from outlets at the port and starboard sides of the deck house.
For appearance, as well as added protection for men working on the upper deck of the pilot house, a spray dodger or flying bridge was designed, fabricated, and installed.
For better visibility from the pilot house, the sheet steel sun visor was replaced with one of tinted but transparent lucite in a stainless steel framework.
Also for better visibility, all windows and frames were removed from the pilot house. Curved glass windows were installed on the two front corners and all openings were fitted with tempered glass in anodized aluminum frames by "Levan". Marine wipers were installed on the front windows.
To improve maneuverability the following items were changed or added. The entire steering gear was removed. This included the 3' wooden ships wheel, cable, cable drum, cable sheaves, rudder, and rudder quadrant. To replace this equipment a Sperry electric hydraulic steering system with lever steerer, nonfollow up controller, and rudder angel indicator was installed on the pilots control console. Also fitted to the boat at this time was a "constant pressure" rudder to improve steering control at slow speeds.
Four underwater thrusters built by Stang were located one on each side near the bow and on each side near the stern. Pilot console controls allow any combination of jet openings. Controls include on-off buttons and indicator lights. These thrusters are fitted with 2 1/4" tips. Discharge from these tips is through a venturi designed to allow the pick up of a large volume of air through 4" air pick up lines form the atmosphere to the venturi. This induction of air into the thruster discharge stream regains most of the reaction lost by the thrusters being located below the waterline rather than above. Use of these thrusters greatly increases the boats maneuverability in close quarters.
Up until now the pilots control of the propulsion engines was through three engine telegraphs, by which he could order only three speeds forward, stop or neutral, and there speeds in reverse. This with some delay while the engineers manually shifted and throttled the engines. In order to provided the Pilot with quicker and more direct control of these engines, Westinghouse pneumatic controls for shifting and throttling were installed on the engines. The Pilots console was provided with controls which include single lever control valves for reversing cylinders and throttle control valves. With these controls any number of rpm within the range of any propulsion engine in either foreword or reverse, can be had instantly.
To improve on the voice tube relied upon for communicating with the engine room, a two-way intercom was installed between the pilot house and the engine room sound proof control booth.
To provide a mounting for the controls used by the Pilot, a pilot house navigation and firefighting control console, finished in wood grain formica, was installed in the forward section of the pilot house. All instruments and equipment are of marine quality, chrome finished and flush mounted. Along with the controls, the console contains gauges for air reservoir, hydraulic systems, and water main pressures. Indicator lights call attention to on-off contrition of deck monitors, underwharf nozzles and thrusters. Lights also indicate if the lift boom or tower monitor is raised. A pump pressure order telegraph with reply indicates to the engine room what water pressure to maintain.
The pilot house also contains search light controls, radar, compass, PA system mike, Fire Dept. radio, and marine band radio. The pilot house lighting system provides white light for day and red lighting for night.
To centralize control in the engine room an engine room console was provided. Controls include pump engines, discharge valves, air compressors, hydraulic pumps, and pump pressure telegraph. Instruments include seven tachometers, gauges for water and oil temperature, air, water, and oil pressure, and fire main pressure. Indicator lights include warning lights for water and oil temperature, generator warning lights, clapper valves open or closed, discharge valves open or closed, water supply to deck monitors open or closed, tower up or lift boom up.
This console is housed in a sound proof booth with very heavy, sound insulated doors. Windows in the doors are of 3/4" tempered glass and provide adequate visibility out. Lighting of the console is fluorescent. To provide ventilation, air enters through a 5' sound trap on top of the booth and is exhausted out the side through air ducts to outside of the engine room.
To reduce some of the routine maintenance done on a daily basis, all brass railings, mooring bitts, and all other bright work was chrome plated. Also all main and upper deck areas were sand blasted and a coating of Neotex deck covering was applied. This covering was troweled on to a sufficient thickness to cover all deck rivets, and covered at the deck house.
FIREBOAT No. 2 is now considered the most modern, practical fire fighting boat afloat. Modernization of Boat 2 is another step in the continuing policy of the Los Angeles City Fire Department to provide the finest fire protection in the world.
8 THE FIREMEN'S GRAPEVINE