Abram S. Hewitt in 1905.
|Name:||Abram S. Hewitt|
|Operator:||Fire Department of New York City|
|Builder:||New York Shipbuilding Corporation|
|Launched:||July 11, 1903|
|Out of service:||1958|
|Status:||Abandoned at Staten Island boat graveyard|
|Length:||117 feet (36 m)|
|Beam:||25 feet (7.6 m)|
|Draft:||10.5 feet (3.2 m)|
|Notes:||Pumping capacity 7,000 gallons per minute|
The Abram S. Hewitt was a coal-powered fireboat operated by the Fire Department of New York City from 1903 to 1958. She was the department's last coal-powered vessel and had a pumping capacity of 7,000 gallons per minute.
She was launched on July 11, 1903, at the shipyards of the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. She was commissioned in October 1903, and was named after recently deceased former mayor Abram Hewitt.
According to some accounts, she was the first fireboat called to the 1904 burning of the General Slocum, where over a thousand people lost their lives. Other accounts say the Zophar Mills was the first fireboat to be dispatched.
On August 14, 1913, a fire was discovered at a large oil storage yard, on what was then Long Island City, and the Abram S. Hewitt was sent to try to put it out. While extinguishing the fire her "bow gun", her frontmost water cannon, burst from her footings, flying into the air, and striking Bertram Johnson, the firefighter assigned to it. He was declared dead, at the scene.
On January 28, 1927, the Abram S. Hewitt's captain, John Connoly, was jolted into the Hudson River by a collision. Although he was burdened by heavy fire equipment he was able to swim to a barge, where he clung to a boathook lowered to him by a crew member. It took the Abram S. Hewitt half an hour to return and rescue him, because it was damaged by the collision.
The Abram S. Hewitt was called to assist other fireboats when a large fire burst out of control a second time. The fire burst out at pier 4. Barrels of flammable liquids had destroyed the pier, and two neighboring piers, but firefighters thought the blaze had been brought under control. However, when it burst out again the Abram S. Hewitt was better suited to navigate through debris, close to the fire.
One of the rusting hulks, er, retired vessels is the fireboat Abram S. Hewitt, which was in active service from 1903-1958. The fireboat, named for NYC mayor Abram Stevens Hewitt (1822-1903) was built by New York Shipbuilding in Camden, NJ and launched the year the mayor died; she served in the NYC fireboat fleet until 1958. It was the last coal-burning fireboat in operation.
When a costly fire started early yesterday morning in the case factory of the Devoe oil yards at the foot of Ninth Street, Long Island City, the Abram S. Hewitt was one of the fireboats that came in from the water side to supplement the fourteen land companies that were fighting the blaze from the shore.
Lieutenant John Connolly, 58 years old, of 932 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, narrowly escaped being frozen or drowned at daybreak yesterday when he was jolted off the deck of the fireboat Abram S. Hewitt, which he commanded, into the icy waters of the East River with the temperature only 1 degree above zero.