Chicago will have a piece of history back as a historic fireboat is restored after more than 30 years. The fireboat is one of the city’s original diesel-powered fireboats but this time around, it will be used for giving unique tours of the city. The fireboat was found by two friends and Navy veterans in northern Wisconsin.
They had discovered that the boat was on sale and the rest is history. Raymond Novak, Co-captain and Co-owner say, “When I saw her, I thought, ‘how can I get this boat to Chicago?” The boat was built in 1936 and it is quite the spectacle. It was the world’s first boat with a diesel engine. It had enough power to spray water up to 27 stories high.
Novak said that when the boat was built, it was the world’s largest fireboat which had the power of spraying over 10 thousand gallons a minute. Even after more than 7 years later, she hasn’t lost her charm and grace. The Fred A. Busse was named for Chicago’s 39th mayor. She was retired in 1981 and sold to a Wisconsin family for public tours.
Erich Totsch is the other Co-captain and Co-owner of the boat. He said that, I think we’re the only red tour boat on the river right now.” He said that they are going on focus on the tours of the boat, the history of the fire department and what the boat had done for the city. The boat is so impressive that two of the four water pumps remain intact.
There are photos available as well which shows her in action, back when the Chicago River was used for manufacturing. Totsch also said, “Being a Navy veteran and having gone around the world a couple times on the water, for us to be able to give a similar experience of that to people here, in our hometown of Chicago, you can’t really put it into words, it’s a pretty neat feeling,”