History of the Fire Fighter

During a career which spanned seven decades protecting New York Harbor, the Fire Fighter and the crews who manned her wove a history of tradition, service, action, valor, sacrifice, tragedy and hard-earned pride unlike any other in the modern world. Present for nearly every maritime emergency in New York City’s history during her time in service with the City of New York Fire Department, the Fire Fighter has seen both herself and her crew decorated for valor more times than any other fireboat, and her roles in some of the 50 major multi-alarm fires she battled during her career have become the stuff of legend among the marine community. Known by her crews simply as the “Fighter”, she was also the Queen of the FDNY Marine Unit Fleet, a Gallant Ship, a National Historic Landmark and for a period of 65 years held the title of World’s Most Powerful Fireboat.

We invite you to explore her history with us through these pages, from her forward-thinking design to her chronological history or through individual stories about major fires she faced during her career. Please click the links below or use our interactive map to get started!


Her Architect – William Francis Gibbs

Building a Legend – The Design of Fire Fighter 

 1938-1955: Engine 57, Marine Unit 1 – The Battery, Manhattan

1955: Engine 78, Marine Unit 5 – Gracie Mansion, Manhattan

1956-1967: Engine 223, Marine Unit 8 – Bush Terminal, Brooklyn

1967-2010: Engine 51, Marine Unit 9 – Stapleton, Staten Island

2010-2013: Reserve – Brooklyn Navy Yard

2013Present: Museum Ship – Greenport, NY


Interactive Map

Explore Fire Fighter’s history in New York Harbor by clicking on the map icons.