A fireboat with a history of saving lives sailed off to its final destination on June 23. The McKean fireboat, built in 1954, is famous for its role in rescuing 9/11 victims in 2001, as well as passengers of the U.S. Airways Flight 1549, dubbed the Miracle on the Hudson, in 2009. It will now rest at Pier 25, serving as a museum for those who wish to learn about the ship’s role in those historic events.
The boat is named after Marine Engineer John D. McKean, who was killed by a live steam explosion aboard the McClellan in 1953.
Tracy Conte, daughter of New York City Fire Department Lieutenant Harry Wanamaker, helped lead the McKean’s restoration, which took an estimated four years. “A lot of the people you see on board today have been working on it for the last four years,” said Conte.
Wanamaker was on the boat during 9/11, rescuing people who jumped off the seawall into the water to escape Lower Manhattan. “The firefighters actually jumped in after them and saved them,” said Conte. It transported nearly 200 people to New Jersey, where some passengers decided to stay onboard and help rescue more victims. After the towers fell, the McKean lined up with other fireboats along the seawall and pumped water to what became known as Ground Zero.
With the boat now at its permanent location, Conte said “It’s very rewarding.”
More information about the McKean boat can be found on its website, www.fireboatmckean.org