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Festivities planned in Greenport to celebrate Fireboat’s 80th birthday

Greenport’s Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum will turn 80 years old next month.

The boat, which put out fires for the New York City Fire Department from 1938 to 2010 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, arrived in Greenport in 2012 after being retired by the FDNY in 2010. 

During its heyday, Fire Fighter was involved in a number of high-profile incidents. It responded on 9/11 after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center; fought the 1942 fire aboard the French ocean liner SS Normandie, which then capsized while docked in the Hudson River; and responded to a 1973 crash in New York Harbor involving a Belgian oil tanker and an American container ship. 

The nonprofit museum plans a three-day birthday celebration Aug. 24 through 26. 

On Friday, Aug. 24, there will be a water display in Greenport Harbor starting at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, free tours of the vessel will be given from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a fire truck muster by the Eastern Long Island Antique Fire Apparatus Association near the East End Seaport Museum, and 25 fire trucks from East End departments will be in Mitchell Park.

Local fire service and Coast Guard demonstrations also will take place during the muster. 

On Sunday, Aug. 26, free fireboat tours will continue from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by a rechristening of Fire Fighter by Susan Gibbs, granddaughter of the vessel’s architect, William Francis Gibbs.

After that, there will be another water display. 

Why celebrate 80 years?

“They had the 65th anniversary when it was in the city,” museum president Charles Ritchie said. “It’s one of those things. You never know who’s going to be around when it’s 90. There’s still a lot of crew that worked on the boat, and we felt this was a pinnacle anniversary. We felt the timing was right.”

Photo caption: The fireboat Fire Fighter docked in Greenport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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