Reviewed by Larry Lorance
The City of Los Angeles recently spent nearly 12 million dollars to purchase four world-class Fireboats. These boats were replacements for the aging fireboat fleet. One of these boats replaced the Ralph J. Scott which was the predecessor to the Warner L. Lawrence. The Lawrence serves the 8000 acre Port of Los Angeles (POLA). The POLA has 43 miles of waterfront, 27 terminals, numerous subsurface pipelines carrying a wide variety of petrochemicals, recreational facilities, and ecological preserves.
The POLA is considered a "gateway to the world" . Ships from all around the world routinely dock at the port's terminals. The POLA provides services to 12 cruise lines who carry approximately one million travelers per year. There are slips for about 6000 pleasure boats of various sizes.
Nearly 104 billion dollars annually, pass over the wharves of Los Angeles. The port activity impacts nearly 260,000 jobs in Southern California and nearly a million jobs nationwide. You can read more about the History of Fire Protection in Los Angeles Harbor 1542-1984 (Acrobat Required) from the Los Angeles Public Library.
Why make the world's most powerful fireboard? LAFD Assistant Chief, John D. Badgett wrote in the Los Angeles Fire Department Newsletter "Fire Watch", "The new boats are the result of a ten-year, joint effort project between the Fire Department and the Port of Los Angeles. It began with a focused need assessment. This process researched the current and projected future port protection role of the Fire Service in the port area, including the possibility of responding beyond the port's limits as needed. The port's hazards, potentials, and expansion projects were studied in close detail. The entire port area was divided into hazard types, and then further refined into specific hazards. The target hazards were then measured for fire flow, fire stream reach, potential Firefighting Foam requirements, alternate water source needs and a wide range rage of other criteria." Once this was accomplished, the data was compared against our existing Fireboat capabilities, and the potential for enhancement, or reduction was carefully studied. On completion, a list of equipment and capabilities required to address the port's needs was developed. This list included items such as Firefighting Foam capacities and flow rates, on board EMS facilities, SCUBA program needs, towing capabilities, improved water supply ability and many many others."
Chief Badgett continues, "Once all of these issues were addressed, the platform that would best carry the equipment and address our delivery requirements was researched. Among the top priorities of the new boar were the overall strength, longevity, technological superiority, and a wide range of enhanced capabilities. Ultimately, Marine Architects and specialists were hired to formally develop the Department's specifications, and the new large and small boats became a reality."
The Warner L. Lawrence was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, BC and built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Freeland, WA. Boat plans can be download directly from Nichols Brothers Boat Builders; click here to download the plans. Acrobat is required.
Chief John D. Badgett wrote, "Nichols Brothers Boat Builders was chosen because of their experience in building large Fireboats and Tractor Tugs. The boats design was chosen because of its tried and true reputation in the work boat industry."
The boat is berthed at Los Angeles Fire Department Station 112. The station is located at 444 S Harbor Blvd Berth 86, San Pedro, CA. This award winning station was originally built to house the Ralph J. Scott. However, the station's size presented a problem when designing the Lawrence. In terms of length and beam (width) The Lawrence (length 105', beam 29') is not much bigger than the Ralph J. Scott (length 99', beam 19 feet. According to Robert Allan, part of the challenge was coming up with a design that was bound by the physical strictures of the boathouse.
The Lawrence is propelled and steered by a single unit; the Voith Schneider® Propellers. According to their website "This solution is as convincing as it is straightforward: on the Voith Schneider® Propeller, a rotor casing which ends flush with the ship's bottom is fitted with a number of axially parallel blades and rotates about a vertical axis. To generate thrust, each of the propeller blades performs an oscillating motion about its own axis. This is superimposed on the uniform rotary motion. Blade excursion determines the amount of thrust, while the phase angle of between 0° and 360° determines its direction. As a result, the same amount of thrust can be generated in any direction, making this the ideal variable-pitch propeller. Both variables - the magnitude and the direction of thrust - are controlled by a mechanical kinematic transmission." In other words, this solution makes the "Lawrence" great for maneuvering. However, it is not built for speed. For a diagram on how this system works, click here.
Nichols Brothers Boat Builders was kind enough to supply us with photographs of the building of the Warner L. Lawrence. Click Here to view this chronological history.
I have always been a big fan of fireboats since I visited the Ralph J. Scott as a child. The Code 3 Collectibles model of the "Warner L. Lawrence" blows any fireboat model ever produced out of the water! I was lucky enough to take a tour of the The Warner L. Lawrence shortly after it going in service in April of 2003.
Code 3 Collectibles presents us with a hand cast and hand painted resin model the is accurate in every detail. I measures 9.24" long x 5.25" tall x 2.5" wide. The model weighs 1.3 pounds. I can assure you the detail built into this model is AWESOME!
It comes with a simulated water display that measures 14" long x 7.5" wide. Attached to the base is a polished brass nameplate that says:
L.A.F.D. Fireboat 2
The model also comes with two polished brass display stands that fit inside holes in the boat's hull (please see photo below).
Again, Code 3 Collectibles has done a
outstanding job matching the paint colors found on the real boat.
The lettering is crisp and easy to read clear down to the 9-11
memorial graphic on the boat. Remember, this is a 1:136
I was particularly impressed with the detail of
the Skum monitors. Take a look at the photos below, the detail
is impressive, even the monitor has a whole! The piping that
surrounds the boat is reproduced in great detail. The main monitors
on the boat can direct a stream of water over 600 feet at a VERY
IMPRESSIVE 38,000 + GPM, that is the length of two football fields.
Imagine, draining a swimming pool that is 50 ' long x 18' wide' by
9' deep in one minute! I was impressed when a boat's firefighter told me the main monitors
could direct a stream over the towers of the
Thomas Bridge near Station 112. That's only 385 feet!
This model is loaded with detail. Take a close look at the model from the top. The boat's aerial ladder is detailed clear down to the diamond plating on the platform. This ladder has and extension of 61 feet from the water line. You can even see the aerial ladder's controls! There is a Zodiac boat on the portside of the vessel that is clearly marked LAFD and has a outboard motor attached WITH DETAIL!
Of particular interest are the port (left side of the boat facing forward) and starboard (right side) Navigation Side Lights. A green navigation light indicates the portside and a red the starboard. However, the Lawrence have both green and red lights on both sides. This is because the boat can be operated by the duplicate pilot houses forward and aft. The boat was designed so that it could be steered either way easily. There is a control station that faces forward and an identical control station that faces aft. Should the pilot need to back up, all he has to do is turn around and he’s ready to go. The same goes with the engineers controls. Both operators can control the boat facing front or back. Yep, Code 3 Collectibles did not leave it out, the navigation lights are there!
The model, like the real boat, has a large number of "working lights". These lights are used to light the boat's decks. The model has life preservers that are marked "LAFD Fireboat 2 Warner L. Lawrence".
There is an extension ladder and pike poles on the starboard site of the model and pike poles on the portside.
Another item that stood out, was the models railing. This level of detail is not present in previous Code 3 Collectibles Fireboat releases. Again, very impressive.
The smaller monitors are all properly colored and are highly detailed as shown in the photographs above.
Code 3 Collectibles did not leave out any detail with this model. The boat's mast is loaded with all kinds of electronics of which I only recognize the three items: the American flag, and the two radar antennas.
This is, without question, the most detailed fireboat ever produced by Code 3 Collectibles. This has got to be a "must have" for any collector. I presents the ultimate in resin cast models! If I had one recommendation, it would be the color of the water represented by the simulated water display. It represents the Hawaiian waters rather than the waters found in the POLA. However, this boat has enough fuel onboard to go from Los Angeles to Hawaii without refueling. Yes, gentlemen, this boat is still referred to as an apparatus.
Finally, I display my Warner L. Lawrence model in a plastic display case. WOW, that looks GREAT! It would even look better if I could figure out a way to place my Ralph J. Scott model along side of the Lawrence in the same display case.
On a WOW factor of 1 to 5, I give the Code 3 Collectibles Warner L. Lawrence LAFD Fireboat 2 a FIVE!
One final note..
If you find yourself in Los Angeles, drop by Station 112 and take a tour.
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