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FIREBOATS
Photos by Britton W Crosby

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Philadelphia, PA


Original Feature Posted April 26, 2004 - Re-launched January 28, 2012
Updated October 24, 2020

Philadelphia Fire Boats 1 - Overview  
Phily Fire Boats 2 - Old Boats   Phily Fire Boat 3 - New Boats
 

PHILADELPHIA - FIRE BOATS 2 - THE OLD BOATS

PHILADELPHIA MARINE UNIT
For many years, this pier located under the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge
on the Delaware River, at North Christopher Columbus Blvd and Race Street, sometimes
called Pier 11, was home to the Philadelphia Fireboats.
These photos taken in May 1987 show some of the old boats at dock.

Philadelphia had several old fireboats, dating back into the late 1800s.
The fleet was upgraded with 3 new boats between 1948 and 1950.
The oldest and first being the "Bernard Samuel" launched in 1948.
It was followed in 1950 by the nearly identical "Franklin" and the "Delaware."

Philadelphia Fireboats "Delaware" and "Bernard Samuel" at quarters.
May 1987

 



Philadelphia Fireboat
"Bernard Samuel"
Built 1948
75'10" length - 18' beam - 4' bow and 7-1/2' stern draft
6,000 gpm capacity
The Phily boats were equipped with 24' elevating towers
and large hose reels, as well as several large deckguns.
The "Samuel" served as Fireboat 1 initially and as Engine 23 for a number
of years, docked at Allegheny Ave. It went into reserve in 1983 and was
disposed of in 2008.
Built by RTC Shipbuilding, across the Delaware River in Camden, NJ

 

 

Photo June 2012

Philadelphia Fireboat
"Franklin"
Built 1950
80' length - 19' beam - 7-1/2' draft
6,000 gpm capacity
The Phily boats were equipped with 24' elevating towers
and large hose reels, as well as several large deckguns.
The "Franklin" was based on the successful design of the "Bernard Samuel" built in 1948.
The "Franklin" (Benjamin Franklin) and identical twin "Delaware" were launched
early in the summer of 1950 and would serve for many years to come.
The "Franklin" became "Fireboat 2", later "Engine 32", and ultimately "Marine Unit 2"
located off Schuylkill Ave up the Schuylkill River.

Built by RTC Shipbuilding, across the Delaware River in Camden, NJ

Photos May 1987


 

 The 1950 "Franklin" at the Marine 1 dock with the boat "Independence"
July 2009

 

 

Philadelphia Fireboat
"Delaware"
Built 1950
80' length - 19' beam - 7-1/2' draft
6,000 gpm capacity
The Phily boats were equipped with 24' elevating towers
and large hose reels, as well as several large deckguns.
The "Delaware" was delivered shortly after the "Franklin" and served as Fireboat 3 initially
and as Engine 15 for a number of years, docked at Race Street pier.
It went into reserve status in 2007.
Built by RTC Shipbuilding, across the Delaware River in Camden, NJ

 



 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Fire Boats 1 - Overview  
Phily Fire Boats 2 - Old Boats   Phily Fire Boat 3 - New Boats

 

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Britt Crosby
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