Eldon Trinity (fireboat)

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The Eldon Trinity is a fireboat operated in Portland, Oregon by the Portland Fire Bureau.[1][2] She was launched in 2010. She is named after two children, Eldon and Trinity Smith, whose mother threw them off a bridge into Portland's Williamette River. Authorities recognized that the attempts to rescue the children exposed weaknesses in the city's rescue infrastructure. Eldon died, while his older sister Trinity survived.

Bystanders drew the children from the water, but the Fire Bureau vessel sent to provide medical care, the powerful David Campbell, built in 1928, was slow to arrive, taking 44 minutes.[1][2]

The Eldon Trinity cost $400,000.[1] Eight year old Trinity delivered a widely-admired speech, during her commissioning.

In 2013 a floating boathouse was built to service and store the Eldon Trinity.[3]

Operational history

The Eldon Trinity went out on its first operational call only two hours after her commissioning.[4][5]

On February 22, 2012, firefighters using the Eldon Trinity rescued a man who had fallen into the swiftly flowing Williamette River, near the vessel's mooring.[6] He was rescued within eight minutes. Tom Williams, Portland's Fire Chief, called it "one of the fastest water rescues I have ever seen."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 David Rose. Portland fire boat to be named for children thrown from Sellwood Bridge, The Oregonian, 2010-11-26. Retrieved on 2017-03-18.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rescue Boat Eldon Trinity Stands as a Memorial, Provides Hope, City of Portland, Oregon, 2010-12-08. Retrieved on 2017-03-19. “Lacking a rescue boat dedicated to the Willamette River, it took PF&R's nearest fireboat 42 minutes to reach the scene.”
  3. Portland Fire and Rescue takes delivery of new boathouse, Portland Tribune, 2013-12-18. Retrieved on 2017-03-20. “At this time, Station 21 is currently under construction. The crew for the station continues to provide both land and marine based operations from a temporary facility adjacent to the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, and also operates a rescue boat, the Eldon Trinity, located at the dock just North of the bridge.”
  4. Eldon Trinity Rescue Boat Fights Marina Fire Two Hours After Being Placed in Service, City of Portland, Oregon, 2010-12-08. Retrieved on 2017-03-19. “'Portland Fire's newest rescue boat – the Eldon Trinity – was literally placed into service two hours before this fire occurred,' said Public Information Officer Paul Corah. 'It was on scene fighting this fire within eight minutes of being dispatched. This demonstrates how having a dedicated rescue boat on the Willamette River is already protecting Portland's citizens.'
  5. Stuart Tomlinson. Quick-acting Portland firefighters, combined with the right equipment, pull off another save, The Oregonian, 2011-08-22. Retrieved on 2017-03-19. “Held lifted the man onto the litter, and then held on behind as Rychlick powered the Sea-Doo across the river to Station 21, where the bureau's newest rescue boat, the Eldon Trinity, is docked beneath the Hawthorne Bridge. Tyler said that dock is much more accessible for ambulances than any on the river's west side.”
  6. Portland firefighters working on rescue boat hear call for help, pull man from Willamette, The Oregonian, 2012-02-22. Retrieved on 2017-03-19. “After calling for help from a fire station on the west side, the crew was able to get to the man and pull him aboard the boat, the Eldon Trinity, within a couple of minutes of first hearing the alert about 10 a.m. today.”