Guardians of The City SFFD Home Page - San Francisco Fire Department Museum
SFFD Fireboats:


Phoenix Bay Bridge Display

Year Built: 1954 (Commissioned 1955) and owned by the State of California

Builder: Plant Monroe Engineering, Alameda

Description: Built as a fireboat with a manifold system, two deck turrets, one pilot house turret, and one 48 foot telescoping mast turret, foam and carbon dioxide systems and hose lockers.

Cost: $

Length: 89 feet
Beam: 19.5 feet
Draft: 7 feet
Displacement: 146 tons

Propulsion: twin screw

Crew: 1 fireboat officer, 1 fireboat pilot, 1 fireboat engineer, 1 company officer, 6 hosemen
Members of fireboat companies could be identified at fires and other emergences by their all yellow helmets.

Service History:
May 1954 to present   Fireboat Company No. 1, Embarcadero at the foot of Harrison Street, Pier 22½.

#1        Cummins Model NVHMS-1200, rated at 480 BMP at 2100 RPM, pump mode only
#2        Cummins Model KTA-1150-M inline 6 cylinder turbo-charged and after cooled 520 BHP at 1950 RPM, propulsion or pump
#3        Same as #2 above

GM 2-71 diesels, each driving a 60 cycle, 3 phase, 30 KW generators

2 Delaval 2-stage centrifugal pumps, each rated at 3200 GPM at 150PSI

2600 gallons diesel: forward tank, 1300 gallons, aft tank, 1300 gallons #2 diesel
(34 hours pump time or 19,584,000 gallons of water)

3000 feet of 3" hose in aft hold
700 feet of 1 1/2" hose in fwd hold

Top of pilot house: 3000 GPM
Bow & stern, main deck: 2000 GPM
Tower: 2000 GPM, 32 feet above the water extending to 48 feet.
Tip sizes for all monitors: 1 ½ inch to 3 inch

Underwharf nozzles:
Forward at waterline, port & starboard, made by Stang, 1000 GPM each, controlled from pilot house

Maneuvering jets:
Forward and aft each side, 8 inches above waterline; 1 ½ inch outlets, controlled from pilot house

Foam system:
Duplex proportioned system in engine room with 2 - 250 gal tanks of AFFF 3-6% alcohol type concentrate
1 - 2 ½ inch eductor
2- 1 ½ inch eductors
250 gallons of AFFF 3-6% ATC in 5 gallon pails
2 - 55 gallon drums of Navy AFFF 6% main deck

CO2 System:
10 - 100# cylinders in the engine room controlled from pilot and aft cabin
1 - 200 foot reel line in aft cabin
1 - 50 foot line in engine room

Hydraulic Systems:
Maneuvering jets
Underwharf nozzles
Tower system

Air Compressor:
2 - Quincey 340 compressors, rated at 150 PSI

Compressed Air:
Starters for all engines
Ship's whistle
Gear box and throttle control

On aft cabin – 6000 pound capacity with a 20 foot reach made by Auto Crane

SFFD: 1 - Motorola 12 channel UHF (only 5 used)
1 - Motorola 1 channel VHF (154.280)
Marine: 2 - ICOM M-80 VHF 74 channel
P.A./Hailer: Cybernet CTX 1000 with 4 station intercom

 Depth Sounders:
1 - Raytheon V800 color echo with dual freq capability
1 - Standard digital unit with depth alarm

Radar: Furuno Model 805 D with 48 mile capability

Pilot House:
Pilot's console - engine and throttle controls
Radar scope and controls
Communications equipment
Maneuvering (thrusters) jet controls and under-wharf nozzle controls

Engineer's Console:
Pilot House: all pumping controls
Engine House: all pumping controls

1 - 12 foot skiff with 30 HP outboard motor and center steering console
1 - Diver's monitor (Landy float)
2 - Wet suits
1 - Portable pump (Honda -130 GPM @ 150 PSI)
1 - Air jack hammer - heavy duty
1 - Chain saw
8 - SCBA (Scott, 30 minute PD)
1 - Resuscitator and first aid equipment
Forcible entry tools and other misc. firefighting tools
Oxy/acetylene cutting outfit

Flood lights:
4 - Halogen flood lights, 500 watts each, 2 forward and 2 aft

Search lights:
2 - Perko 10" 1000 watt, mounted on pilot house

Portable lighting:
1- 200 watt portable lights 4-100 foot extension cords 1 -1500 watt portable generator

2 - Big line eductors
1 - Homelite salvage pump - 200 GPM
1 - Portable pump - Honda 130 GPM

The History Of The Fireboat Phoenix

San Francisco's waterfront is owned by the State of California and its activities are controlled and administered by a State-appointed San Francisco Port Authority.  Fire protection for the Port of San Francisco is the responsibility of the San Francisco Fire Department.

Fires along the waterfront frequently develop into some of the most difficult problems in fire extinguishment encountered by the Department.  Fires involving vessels may occur on pas­senger ships, freighters, towboats, oil or gasoline tenders and barges, or on other types of vessels.  Some ship fires are accessible to land fire apparatus; other fires may occur while the vessel is anchored or is under way in the Bay where it can be approached only by a Fireboat.

The Fire Department provides regular first and greater alarm response of fire fighting apparatus and personnel to all land areas within the jurisdiction of the Port Authority.  To augment this protection the Port Authority has provided the Fire Department with a Fireboat, which is owned and maintained by the Authority, the "Phoenix."  In the interest of maintaining command the Authority has delegated the responsibility of control, man­ning, use and operation of the "Phoenix" to the San Francisco Fire Department.

The "Phoenix" went in service in 1954 as the successor of two steam-powered Fireboats, City owned, the "David Scannell" and the "Dennis T. Sullivan."  These two vessels served the City well for 45 years from 1909 until their age presented maintenance problems that were too costly to solve.

Prior to the launching of the "Phoenix" the Port Authority, in a public contest, encouraged San Franciscans to suggest a name for the craft and the name chosen was suggested by a member of the Phoenix Society, Edward Pendergast.

Briefly here are a few statistics relative to the "Phoenix."  It is of all-welded construction. Freeboard amidships is approximately 6 feet, at her bow, 10 feet; at her stern, 5 feet.  Maximum maneuverability is provided by twin screws and twin rudders. Maximum speed is approximately 15 knots.  Diesel oil is used as fuel for operation of all engines and the fuel supply is sufficient for performance of all engines at full capacity for about 34 hours.

The "Phoenix" can deliver 9,000 gallons per minute (GPM) at 150 pounds pressure per square inch (PSI) or 3,200 GPM at 300 PSI.  On deck is a punt propelled by a modified salvage pump which can be lowered over the side by a boom.  The punt is valuable for fighting fire under the docks.

The "Phoenix" is equipped with radar and by radio is in contact with the San Francisco Fire Department and the Coast Guard.  The Coast Guard and fire fighting equipment maintained on State and privately owned craft within the Bay area are available when requested by the San Francisco Fire Department.

Her normal crew complement consists of a Pilot, two Marine Engineers, one Fire Department Officer and five Firemen.

Back to the Top

SFFD Home Page Guardians of The City Home Page