John Purroy Mitchel (fireboat)

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John Purroy Mitchel was a fireboat operated by the FDNY.[1][2] She was named after former mayor of New York City, John Purroy Mitchel. Grace Drennan, niece of Fire Commissioner Thomas J. Drennan played a ceremonial role in the vessels launch on July 24, 1921. Her launch was also attended by current mayor John Francis Hylan.

John Purroy Mitchel was the city's first fireboat powered by fuel-oil, not coal.[2] She was 132 ft (40.23 m) long, and her pumps could throw 9,000 gallons per minute, at pressure of 300 pounds per square inch. One of her water cannons was mounted on top of a 26 ft (7.92 m) tower.

John Purroy Mitchel was built by Standard Shipbuilding Corporation, of Shooter's Island, and was budgeted at $220,000, but came in under budget, at $200,000.[1][2]

John Purroy Mitchel helped William J. Gaynor fight a cargo fire aboard the ocean liner SS Bryon in 1926

On October 5, 1926 the crew of the ocean liner SS Bryon discovered a fire in one of her cargo holds. John Purroy Mitchel assisted William J. Gaynor, which was the first fireboat on scene. The two fireboats pumped water into the burning hold, and Byron reached the quarantine station under her own power.[3]

The vessel was still in operation in 1962, when the John Glenn joined the fleet.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 New Fireboat to Cost $220,000, New York Times, 1921-03-30, p. 8. Retrieved on 2017-03-24.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fireboat Named With Wine; The John Purroy Mitchel Is First Oil Burner in City's Fleet., New York Times, 1921-07-24, p. 21. Retrieved on 2017-03-24. “The new city fireboat, the John Purroy Mitchel, named in honor of the late Mayor, was launched yesterday at the plant of the Standard Shipbuilding Corporation on Shooters Island.”
  3. Fire-swept liner lands 697 safely, 1926-10-06, pp. 1, 4.
  4. City's Latest Fireboat: The John H. Glenn Jr., The New York Times, 1962-03-10, p. 15. Retrieved on 2020-06-01. “There are eight fireboat's in the city's fleet and the Mayor's office customarily gives a short biography or explanation for the name chosen. The boats in service are: Senator Robert F. Wagner; Alfred E. Smith; John Purroy Mitchel; H. Sylvia Wilks; The Fire Fighter; and three craft named after Fire Department heroes-- Harry Archer, John J. Harvey and John D. McKean.”