Fireboat John J. Harvey
The John J. Harvey is a fireboat formerly of the New York City Fire Department in New York City, famed for returning to service following the September 11, 2001 attacks. She is among the most powerful fireboats ever built, capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute.
Launched in 1931, the John J. Harvey had a distinguished career in the FDNY until her retirement in 1994. She was named for marine fireman John J. Harvey, killed when a ship exploded during a fire. Among the marine fires at which she assisted were the Cunard Line pier fire in 1932, the burning of the Normandie in 1942, the ammunition ship SS El Estero in 1943, and the collision of the Alva Cape and Texaco Massachusetts oil tankers in 1966. Her official designation at the end of her career was Marine 2.
The Harvey was sold, at auction, in 1999, to a private consortium of marine preservationists determined to prevent her from being scrapped. In June 2000 she was added to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places. Her current owners have thoroughly restored her, and host frequent free trips on the river. She is currently moored at North River Pier 66, located at 12th Avenue and 26th Street on the Hudson River.
The John J. Harvey had an unexpected encore. Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the boat's owners asked FDNY officials for permission to assist in evacuations from Ground Zero. Meanwhile, firefighters had determined that the vast scale of destruction had damaged many fire mains, depriving fire crews of water. Officials radioed the Harvey, asking if her pumps still worked. Responding that they did, she was told to drop off her passengers as soon as possible and return to the disaster site, reactivating her official designation Marine 2. Alongside two other FDNY fireboats, John D. McKean and Fire Fighter, she pumped water at the site for 80 hours, until water mains were restored. The National Trust for Historic Preservation gave the Harvey a special National Preservation Award to recognize this incident. The Harvey 's story was the subject of a 2002 children's book.