A Special Presentation
(Back) (Home) (Features)  (Next)


By Britton Crosby
January 2001
(Updated August 8, 2010)
Page 1
1920's - 1930's

The "First" of Cape Cod's Brush Breakers.
Built by the Town of Barnstable Forest Fire Department in 1937 on a Ford Chassis.
It was built at Carl Starck's Garage on Main Street, Osterville.
Designed by T.O.B. Forest Warden and Centerville-Osterville Fire District Chief Bernard .S. Ames
it had all wheel drive, an 800 gallon water tank, steel bars, and a Leonard fire pump.
This unique apparatus was badly damaged by its first major fire, in Hyannis on May 5, 1937,
even before it was officially in service. It was rebuilt and served until 1952 at the
Osterville Fire Station.

The Town of Barnstable 1937 Ford Brush Breaker - Cape Cod's first.
The design using welded heavy steel bars and all wheel drive permitted the apparatus to
physically drive off road and even through pine forests to access and extinguish fires
in forested areas. Note large hose reel behind cab.

The Osterville Fire Station in late 1930's.
C-O FD's 1926 Maxim 500 gpm pumper Engine 1 on right.
Town of Barnstable's 1938 Ford Fire Patrol Truck in middle.
The 1937 Brush Breaker is on the left.

Early trial run of 1937 Brush Breaker.

The 1937 Ford brush breaker was called to one of its first fires before it's paint
had even dried. This fire in the Ridgewood Avenue area of Hyannis on May 5, 1937 burned
over 2000 acres into the Cummaquid area of town. This newspaper clipping
shows the raging fire as it destroyed the brand new brush breaker.
The truck was rebuilt and served until 1952.


1937 Ford brush breaker in Osterville.

The Osterville Fire Station served as the Town of Barnstable Forest Fire Department's Headquarters.
This photo shows the 1937 Ford Brush Breaker, a 1922 Dodge fire truck which served as the town's
first patrol truck, and the 1938 Ford Patrol Truck. Missing from this photo is C-O FD's 1926 Maxim Pumper.



The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Forest Fire Services operated a number
of these 1939 Ford 1-1/2 ton cab over fire trucks. Each truck had a 400 gallon
water tank and a PTO pump, and carried about 2000' of hose.  The Sandwich
truck remained in service until 1966.

Several of the State trucks were assigned to the Cape area.  One in Brewster
at the state forest, one in Sandwich, and one on the Vineyard.  The Sandwich
truck was later stationed at the Buzzards Bay Fire Station c.1941. (above).

1941 State Forest Fire Truck at Pocasset Fire Station.

Former State 1939 Ford 1-1/2 ton fire truck.

This 1939 Ford Forestry Truck was recently salvaged and brought to 
Shawme Crowell State Park to be refurbished.

The 1939 Fords served across the state.


State fire truck drafting from a bridge c.1920s.

1930 Forest Fire Truck from Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard

Plymouth forest fire truck c.1930s.
(Plymouth FD collection)

Plymouth forest fire truck c.1930s.
(Plymouth FD collection)

Plymouth Engine 6 with fire extinguishers c.1930s. .
(Plymouth FD collection)

Learn more about forest fires,  Brush Breakers and Forestry Apparatus 
in the Cape Cod area on the following pages.





More Pages of Brush Breakers

Page 1 - 1920s - 1930s - First Brush Breaker
Page 2 - 1920s - 1930s - Forest Fires / Memorial
Page 3 - 1920s - 1930s - Fire Towers / Patrol Plane
Page 4 - 1930s - Early Brush Trucks / Breakers
Page 5 - 1930s - 1950s - First County Brush Breakers  
Page 6 - 1940s - 1950 - Early Brush Breakers
Page 7 - 1950s - Second Generation Brush Breaker
Page 8 - 1950s - Brush Trucks
Page 9 - 1950s - 1960s - Second County Brush Breakers
Page 10 - 1950s - 1970s - Breakers and Patrol Trucks
Page 11 - 1960s - Brush Trucks and Fires 
Page 12 - 1960s - Fires and Brush Breakers
Page 13 - 1960s - 1970s - Third Generation Breaker
Page 14 - 1970s - County & Town Brush Breakers
Page 15 - 1970s - 1980s - Brush Breakers & Tankers
Page 16 - 1980s - Breakers & Fires
Page 17 - 1990s - Brush and Forestry Trucks
Page 18 - 1990s - Brush and Forestry Trucks
Page 19 - 1990s - State Forest Fire Apparatus
Page 20 - 1990s - 2000s - Brush Breakers
Page 21 - 2000s - Breakers and Tankers
Page 22 - 2000s - Brush Breakers & Tankers
Page 23 - 2000s - Newest Breakers
Page 24 - 2000s - 2005 Brush Season
Page 25 - 2000s - 2006 Brush Breakers
Page 26 - 2000s - 2007 Brush Breaker Training
Page 27 - 2000s - 2008 Tankers & Forestry Units
Page 28 - 2000s - 2009 Breakers
Page 29 - 2010s - 2010 Brush & Forestry Units


Related Links

Massachusetts DCR - Bureau of Forest Fire Control
Forest Fire Lookout Association
History Early Fire Towers
Massachusetts Fire Tower Locations - Plymouth Brush Breaker Drill April 2006 - Plymouth-Wareham Brush Fires May 2006 - Sandwich Fire Tower 2006

Robert Winston Article on the
Fire Season in Eastern & Southeastern, Mass
Posted May 23, 2008

Falmouth Fire Rescue Training Division
Presents Breaker Training

At Crane Wildlife 2007
Falmouth Fire Rescue Department
presents Chief Farrington's Brush Fire class

Filmed 2007

Photos in this series are from various sources
including fire department and personal collections.