12/19/09 248 W, 1 I - + 11 - 6 Wilmington Fire Boat, 1956

The cover of Hose & Nozzle magazine, July 1956, featured this photo of Wilmington's fire boat Atlantic. The magazine also included a feature on the Wilmington Fire Department, which tells that the boat was built in Brownsville, Texas, in 1943, for "government patrol duty." The city acquired same in 1949, and the craft was "literally stripped" in conversion to a fireboat.

The specs: 65-foot wood hull. 230 HP Superior diesel engine. 44-inch propeller with 36-inch pitch. Two Mack 150 HP gasoline marine engines driving two 1,000 GPM two-stage Hale pumps. Capacity in excess of 2,500 GPM. Pump delivered through headers to eight 2 1/2-inch outlets, plus two tower-mounted deluge guns. The tower nozzles had "full transverse and elevation controls."

At one time, the boat answered within a district, as any engine company did. By 1956, it was special-called. The pilot was kept on duty at the dock station house. When he received an alarm, he "warm[ed] the engines, [took] aboard two men from a land company to serve as deckhand and engineer, and report[ed] to the scene of the fire."

Wilmington's first fire boat, the original Atlantic, was placed in service in 1907. It consisted of the boiler and pump from a steam fire engine in a wooden craft and propelled by a two-cylinder Globe gasoline engine. Speed of 8 miles per hour. Atlantic II was placed in service in 1914. The below boat was thus named Atlantic III. Click to enlarge:

Hose & Nozzle photo

Sanborn Maps from 1955 show the fire boat station as a two-story building sitting apparently in the center of Grace Street, just prior to the river. That year the fire department had six stations, 87 firemen, and three chiefs. Apparatus were 7 engines, one aerial ladder, and the aforementioned fire boat.
Legeros - 12/19/09 - 10:20

Old, then new.
The newest Wilmington Fire Department Fire Boat-Renamed Atlantic 5.

Ryan Young - 12/19/09 - 18:44

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