In a Rare Assignment, Fireboats Battle a Blaze in Brooklyn

Author: J. David Goodman [The New York Times]

Once a common sight at urban disaster scenes, the fireboat, with its cannons of cascading water, is rarely called upon to battle fires in a New York City of receding industrial zones and new riverfront condominiums.

But as flames engulfed a waterfront warehouse stuffed with old court papers and medical records in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this weekend, there they were: two fireboats pouring frigid water from the East River onto the inferno.

The larger of the vessels, a 140-foot boat known as the Firefighter II, also used its main cannon as a water-powered battering ram. The impact of 17,000 gallons of water a minute was used to collapse walls, exposing the flames inside the warehouse.

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