Fireboat Edward M. Cotter
Three years before Orville and Wilbur Wright made their historic flight at Kitty Hawk, Buffalo's fireboat, currently named the Edward M. Cotter, began her 100-plus years of service to the City of Buffalo and it's fire department.
Built and commissioned during an era when Buffalo's waterfront and port were booming, the Cotter has been an invaluable asset of fire protection for the numerous warehouses, grain elevators and other facilities that line Buffalo's shores. Many of these structures pose unique challenges for firefighters and would be difficult, if not impossible, to reach using conventional land equipment. With her pumping capacity equal to that of 11 firetrucks, her importance is immeasurable.
In addition to her extraordinary firefighting capabilities, the Cotter serves another critical role as the city's sole ice-breaking resource. By breaking up ice jams in the Buffalo River, the water and ice in its upstream tributaries can flow freely, helping to prevent flooding - not only in Buffalo, but in neighboring communities as well.
In 1996, the Edward M. Cotter was designated a National Historic Landmark.
As the world's oldest working fireboat, she has borne three names, survived a devastating explosion and, as she proudly begins her second century of service, stands ready to protect our vessels and shorelines for many more years to come.