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Born-Again Hero Page 3

Born-Again Hero
Part 3: Marine Two

By Roy Attaway — February 2002
   
 


 More of this Feature

• Part 1: John J. Harvey
• Part 2: John J. Harvey
• Part 3: John J. Harvey


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In addition to the "determined but calm" (as Gill describes it) crowd, there was the smell, an acrid stench of civilization burning. The Harvey immediately pulled up to the seawall at Pier A, south of the World Financial Center, and took on about 150 survivors. No sooner was the crew headed north than the fire department radioed them to quickly discharge passengers and return downtown to help pump water. They were now officially Marine Two, the Harvey's old designation. She was back in active service.

There were problems. Although the owners had used the deck pipes many times for amusement, much of the old fire-fighting gear was inoperable. But Ivory hooked the fire hoses directly to the deck pipes, and the Harvey was soon doing her share to replace water mains crushed in the collapse of the buildings. Furber went ashore with his welding gear and spent the day and that night cutting people and corpses out of wrecked vehicles. Welles went ashore, too, and then came back for Gill. Later in the afternoon, Ivory also walked inland. He recalls: "Everybody was quiet. There was no traffic making noise. You could hear some generators and firetrucks running, but that was about all. The ash that had come from the buildings blanketed everything, so there was no dimension to it. Everything was the same shade of gray, so it was like a large black-and-white scene. Even the people were totally covered except where their sweat or tears made creases."

The Harvey stayed on station until Friday. Welles returned to his family Tuesday night; Gill stayed until Wednesday (regulations require a pilot to be onboard at all times), when he was relieved by Bob Lenney, a retired FDNY pilot who had served on the Harvey. By then Jessica DuLong, the boat's assistant engineer, was aboard, allowing Ivory to get some sleep.

"I got on my bike about five," Gill recalls, "and went from this surreal world to the real one. It was like going through the looking glass. People were staring at me as if I were some monster that had crawled out of the sewers, and it was there that I lost it. I burst into tears. It all came home. When you're down there, it was its own world. When you get out, you suddenly have a perspective on it."

The Harvey spent more than 40 hours pumping water until the street hydrants were restored, and then she quietly slipped back into retirement. But she is not forgotten. The National Trust for Historic Preservation bestowed on her a special Preservation Honor Award for her involvement in the WTC disaster. On October 6 past, she turned 70 years old; she remains open to visitors at Pier 63.

Roy Attaway is a freelance writer and photographer.

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This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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