A fireboat now docked in the Hudson Valley used for historically significant missions, including Sept. 11, 2001, rescues and the “Miracle on the Hudson,” was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Several New Yorkers are preserving the retired boat to carry on its legacy. Ed Taylor and Miguel Valle are working to preserve the history of retired FDNY Fireboat John D. McKean.
“We're custodians of this boat, so this boat belongs to everyone,” Taylor said. “We're here to help maintain it, and because a boat like this, if it’s maintained, it can last a lot longer than us.”
What You Need To Know
- Fireboat John D. McKean was in service with the New York City Fire Department as Marine Company 1 for 58 years
- The boat is most notably known for its rescue efforts on Sept. 11, 2001, and the days following, as well as the "Miracle on the Hudson"
- Most recently, Fireboat John D. McKean was added to the National Register of Historic Places
Fireboat John D. McKean was in service with the New York City Fire Department as Marine Company 1 for 58 years. Built in 1954, the 129-foot boat is named after a FDNY marine engineer who lost his life in an explosion aboard another ship the year prior.
The boat is most notably known for its rescue efforts on Sept 11, 2001, and the days following, bringing many people across the river to New Jersey and providing water to put out fires in what would become Ground Zero.
“We want people to remember what that was about, and this is a great learning tool because this boat was there, so it’s something that we don't want to forget,” Taylor said.
Taylor purchased the McKean from New York City during an auction in 2016. Valle, a volunteer firefighter of 47 years, became interested in preserving the boat after it assisted his crew with a call.
“When I saw this thing, I knew the history of it. I just wanted to help them keep it alive, so we started working on it for days and days and months, and it just became a passion,” Valle said.
Because he worked at Ground Zero after 9/11, Valle didn’t know how much of an impact the McKean had until years later, when he heard stories of the boat saving so many lives.
“It was kind of, you know, heartbreaking, because the towers came down, but a good thing to find out that, you know, it could save his guys, feeding water up to the towers,” Valle said.
The McKean also responded to the Hudson River when a U.S. Airways jet made an emergency landing in the river in 2009, rescuing passengers and securing the plane from sinking. The boat also supervised the Macy’s fireworks, welcomed runners to the New York City Marathon and played a role in the opening of the new Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge.
Most recently, Fireboat John D. McKean was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently docked behind Panco Petroleum Co. in Stony Point.
“We're very excited. It means a lot. It means a lot to the vessel. It means a lot to the board,” Taylor said. “It’s good to see hard work pay off.”
Both said they hope to get the boat back up and running in the water with a goal of eventually being able to bring school kids and visitors on for tours to continue educating others about the boat’s history.