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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Mayor Welcomes Seattle's Newest Fireboat to the Fleet

4/17/2007  1:30:00 PM
Kellie Randall  (206) 386-1335

Mayor Welcomes Seattle's Newest Fireboat to the Fleet

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels and Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean today welcomed the city’s new primary fireboat “Leschi” to its home at Fire Station 5 on Elliot Bay.

The Leschi arrived on Elliott Bay this morning to much fanfare. It joins the fire and rescue boat, Engine 1 (delivered last July) as the core of Seattle’s saltwater fireboat fleet.

“With the addition of the Leschi to our firefighting fleet, we have a powerful new boat that can respond to emergencies on the water and along the shoreline,” Nickels said. “That is vital in a major port city with active maritime industries and marinas. The Leschi is an important step toward our goal of making Seattle safer and more prepared.”

The Leschi is 108 feet long with a water-pumping capacity of 20,000 gallons per minute and a top speed of 14 knots. The boat replaces the Chief Seattle as the city’s primary firefighting boat on salt water. Engines and pumps on the 24-year old Chief Seattle will be upgraded and the boat will move to fresh water. The Alki, built in 1928, will retire from city service.

Sharon Nickels, the mayor’s wife, christened the new boat at the dock today.

The name “Leschi” was chosen by Seattle third grader Kadi Camara in a “Name the Fireboat” contest held by the Fire Department last February. Students were asked to submit a name of Northwest Native American origin in keeping with the tradition of previous Seattle fireboats and write a paragraph explaining why the suggested name was the best name for a new fireboat.

The new and retrofitted fireboats will provide emergency medical services, rescue and salvage, and pump water to fires on land should water mains break during earthquakes or other disasters.

Following a number of significant marina fires, analysis of the Fire Department’s marine firefighting operations showed that Seattle’s aging fleet of fireboats needed to be maintained and/or replaced. In 2004, citizens voted to protect Seattle’s waterways as part of the Fire Facilities Levy.

The $12 million dollar boat, funded through the levy, was designed by local naval architects, Jensen Maritime and built by Dakota Creek Industries of Anacortes.

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on efforts to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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