Proud History

Photo Courtesy Al Trojanowicz

Fireboat Thomas Willett
Engine 78 in the East River
Photo Courtesy Al Trojanowicz

John J. Harvey

John J. Harvey was Pilot of the steam fireboat Thomas Willett, assigned to Engine Co. 86 at Bloomfield Street.

On February 11, 1930 a fire broke out aboard the North German Lloyd Lines ship Muenchen at North River Pier 42, Morton Street.

Willett came alongside and her crew started working aboard the burning ship. Soon a series of terrible explosions tore through Muenchen. One of the worst caused serious damage to the fireboat and swept men overboard.

John J. Harvey, knocked over the side by a section of steel plate, was killed instantly. His body was recovered from the river four hours later.

It was quickly announced that the new fireboat to be built in Brooklyn would be named in his honor. This was the first time a fireboat was named for a member of the Fire Department.

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