Old Fireboat No. 2
Old Fire Boat No. 2, the Ralph J. Scott has a remarkable and storied history. She was involved with most of the significant fires in the LA Harbor area, and served longer than any other single piece of apparatus.
Originally named Los Angeles City No. 2, she was built in 1925 at the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp. (Todd Shipyard) in San Pedro. Launched October 20, 1925, the $214,000 fire boat went to sea with a crew of 14 officers and firefighters. She was later renamed the Ralph J. Scott, in honor of the city’s most innovative Chief engineer during the early 1900s.
When built, Old Fire Boat No. 2 was powered by seven 350-horsepower, 6-cylinder in-line Winton gasoline engines. There were six Byron Jackson four-stage centrifugal pumps mounted in pairs forward of the propulsion system. Each was rated at 1700 G.P.M. at 200 psi., for a total output of 10,200 G.P.M. Beginning in 1975 the gasoline engines were replaced with diesels and by 1978 two 700 H.P. V-12 Cummins, three 380 H.P. 6 cylinder in-line Cummins and two 525 H.P. V-12 – 2 cycle Detroit engines powered the boat.
The Ralph J. Scott carried breathing apparatus, forcible entry tools, heavy stream appliances, a bank of eighteen 50 lb. CO-2 cylinders, flood light, smoke ejector equipment, syphon ejectors, drag and grappling hooks, two 3 1/2″ Mystery nozzles, and tips up to 6″ for the largest deck turret. She had four reels supporting 4,000 feet of various sizes of hose. The Scott was equipped with 24 hose outlets (12 port and 12 starboard) and 5 large deck guns. The largest, dubbed Big Bertha, mounted on the wheelhouse could deliver 10,200-gallons-per-minute via a six-inch nozzle.. The tower turret, believed to be the first, or at least one of the first fireboat towers in the nation, raised to a height of 42′ above the waterline.
Today, Old Fire Boat No. 2 sits behind active Fire Station 112 in San Pedro. The Port of Los Angeles has begun the process of developing a multi-million dollar facility to house the rehabilitated vessel. It is a beautiful new environment for the old boat, and will be adjacent to 112s and very close to Ports of Call Village. The boat is listed as a historic artifact and is on the U.S. Register of Historic Places.
The LAFD Historical Society is working diligently to complete a restoration plan for the “Scott,” as the members like to call her. To do that, the organization needs your help. Please consider a donation to help make the fire boat one of the most admired historic artifacts in the United States of America.