C.D. Scully (fireboat)

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The C.D. Scully was a fireboat constructed for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] The vessel was owned by Pittsburgh from its completion, in 1956, until its sale to Tampa, Florida, in 1973.[2] She had been out of service for some time, when she was sold. She cost $91,500, in 1956, and was sold for $50,000.

In March 1951 an editorial in Fire Engineering described a serious fire on Pittsburgh's waterfront, in December 1950, that the City couldn't properly fight, because they then had no fireboat.[3] The editor argued that too much of the extensive expenditures in civil defense were being concentrated too much on bomb shelters, with insufficient funding for fire-fighting equipment.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Fire Chief Thomas Kennelly, who said the city did not need a fireboat.[2] "We don't have any wharves or piers and any fire we have can be handled by our land fire fighting force."

She was 62 ft (18.9 m) long.[2][4]

In 2015 and 2016 Pittsburgh experienced fires that put a focus on its need to acquire a new fireboat, and in December 2016 a new boat was ordered.[5]


  1. Bob Bauder. City of Pittsburgh eyes fireboat costing $400K, Tribune Live, 2016-05-13. “Pittsburgh retired its last fireboat — christened the C.D. Scully in honor of former Mayor Cornelius D. Scully — and sold it in 1973 to Tampa for $50,000.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 $50,000 offer for city fireboat, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. 6.
  3. With the Editor: Fire, the real danger, Fire Engineering, March 1951. “What proponents of this and like civil defense measures to dump money into civil defense schemes of doubtful and uncertain value apparently fail to appreciate is that (1) the gravest threat in any modern enemy attack on this nation is fire (from atom bomb, high explosive bomb and incendiary bomb) ; and (2) Fire is the most serious threat to our fire defense preparations—our defense production and stockpiling!”
  4. Powerful little squirt, Pittsburgh Press, 1957-06-02, p. 126.
  5. Bob Allen. Boat Catches Fire On Ohio River, Prompts Discussion About Fire Boat Necessity, CBS News, 2015-11-07. “The last time the city had a fire boat was in 1973, but at the time, the administration though the C.D. Scully wasn’t needed and it was sold. Ralph Sicuro, president of the Pittsburgh Firefighters Union, wonders if the city is prepared to fight a fire on the river on a larger scale.”