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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 650, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

03 May 2016

❖ SEATTLE'S FIRST FIRE BOAT Comes to a flaming end off Kodiak docks

Coal-fired; 7,000 GPM capacity.
1890 cost was $35,000.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

Maritime writer Glen Carter for the Seattle Times, c. 1974.

"Alaska maritime news of interest to Seattle is sometimes late enough to have arrived by dogsled, carrier pigeon and boat.
      A case in point is word of Seattle's first fire boat, the SNOQUALMIE, built in 1890. She was alive and well as a shrimp hauler until a couple of weeks ago.
      We had been hearing scuttlebutt that the 98-ft wooden SNOQUALMIE had burned to the waterline somewhere in Alaska.
      She was moored at a fuel dock at Kodiak and caught fire. No injuries, we're told. The Coast Guard towed her from the hazardous fueling area and let her burn offshore. At some other dock, the Kodiak Fire Department might have saved her.
      She last worked for Northern Processors, Inc., hauling shrimp to Puget Sound from Kodiak and from Yakutat.
      Two months after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the City Council ordered her built. She was launched 13 August 1890.
      She was retired in 1932. She was sold for scrap for $1,888 in 1935. But she helped build the Mercer island floating bridge in 1939-40, then went into obscurity.
      In 1945 she went into freight work for Dahl Transportation Service as the ROBERT EUGENE. Rufus Choate bought her in 1963 and hauled sheep and other livestock to his ranch at Unalaska. She served as a floating home for the Choate family while they got the ranch going. Later she was renamed the SNOQUALMIE.
      Ocean Champion Seafood of Bellevue bought her from Lake Union Boat Sales. She was resold to Northern Processors last spring.
      A former owner said Seattle's first fire boat burned for 36 hours off the Kodiak fuel dock. She was a total loss. Fire finally had got the old gal who had withstood storms, groundings. sinkings, and numerous battering. This time she didn't come back."


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