Guardians of The City SFFD Home Page - San Francisco Fire Department Museum
Museum Collections: Apparatus - Water Tower Company No. 4:
1927 Mack Bulldog chassis with a 35 foot Gorter Water Tower, Union Iron Works, San Francisco


Tractor Builder: Mack Trucks, a 3.5 Ton chassis, 4 cylinder 70 HP engine, chain driven, with solid rubber tires.

Manufacturer's Number: 7311720

Water Tower Builder: Union Iron Works, San Francisco, designed by Henry H. Gorter

SFFD Shop Number: WT-5

Original price:

Condition: Fair, preserved

Location: In storage

Crew: Two firemen on each shift
Members of water tower companies could be identified at fires and other emergencies by their all black helmets.

Service History:

1928   July 31st, with Truck Company No. 2, 1340 Powell Street
1952   with Engine Company No. 3, 1067 Post Street
1956   with Engine Company No. 29, 299 Vermont Street
1958   Changed to a unmanned special unit
1960   Changed to a manned unit, housed with Engine Company No. 34, 1301 Turk Street
1961   with Engine Company No. 29, 299 Vermont Street and placed in reserve
1971   placed out of service and transferred to the roster of the Museum

This unit is the identical twin of Water Tower No. 3.  Water Tower 4 was housed with Truck 2 for 24 years.  Truck 2 is located in North Beach.  This area covered the northern piers of the waterfront from Fisherman's Wharf to the Ferry Building and the light industrial area north of the City's highly valuable financial district.

The mast of the small towers is 24 feet.  The telescope can be extended to 30 feet and with the nozzle extension water can flow from 35 feet above the ground.  The towers can place a fairly effective stream of water into a 5th floor window or onto a 4th floor roof.  They can place an effective stream of water into a 4th floor window or onto a 3rd floor roof.  The deck monitors can place a fairly effective stream of water into a 3rd floor window  or onto a 2nd floor roof.  The deck monitors can place an effective stream of water into a 2nd floor window. The tower nozzle normally carried a 2 inch tip and the deck battery a tip of 1 ¾ inches.  Two sets of four nozzle tips, 1 ½, 1 ¾, 2, and 2 ½ inches, are carried on the small water towers. One set is for the tower and the other for the deck monitor.

In 1958, the company was placed in an unmanned status.  In 1960 the company was reactivated to a manned status.  Then in 1961, when the company returned to be housed with Engine 29, it was placed in an unmanned reserve status.  For the next 10 years, the monthly drill schedule of Engine Company 29 included wet operations of both small Water Towers.  During this 10 year period, if a chief special called Water tower 3 or 4 to a fire, the members of 29 Engine manned and operated these units.

In 1971, Water Tower Company No. 4 was disbanded and the unit was transferred to the apparatus roster of the Museum.

It is the goal of the SFFD Historical Society to have both units, Water Towers 3 & 4, placed into working order with one in a restored condition and the other maintained as a preserved apparatus.

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