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May 25, 2023
This feature looks back at some of the history and apparatus of Falmouth.
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A "minimal" Falmouth Fire Department was established in 1897 for about $700.
A hand drawn Chemical unit (soda & acid) and hand drawn ladder were placed
in a small building on Main Street making Falmouth the third fire department
to be established on Cape Cod. (P-Town was first in 1836 and Hyannis next in 1896).

Within a few years, Falmouth had placed about 5 hose carts in service in various
sections of town. Each cart carried between 250'-500' of unlined 2-1/2" hose.

Hose 1 was located in Teaticket.
Hose 2 was on Main Street in the East Village (near current HQ).
H&L No 2 was with Hose 2 in the East Village.
Hose 3 was in the West Village (area of Village Green)
Hose 4 was in Quissett (about half way to Woods Hole)
H&L No 4 was with Hose 4 in Quissett.
Hose 5 was in Woods Hole.

By 1915, the Falmouth FD had expanded to about 10 companies
 with some 131 men as several additional companies were added.

Hose 6 located in West Falmouth.
Hose 7 in Falmouth Heights.
Hose 8 in East Falmouth.
Hose 9 in North Falmouth.
Hose 10 in Waquoit.

Hose Company
One of the old Falmouth Hose Reels.


One of Falmouth's First Ladder Companies.
Falmouth Firefighters are shown with one of the original ladder trucks
in a post WWII 1946 parade on Main Street.
(The car on the right looks like a 1946 Chevy Fleetline.)

It is believed that this is "H&L No 4" which was assigned with Hose Co 4 in Quissett.

The old ladder truck carried wooden ladders and some hooks.
Falmouth held on to the old truck after motorization began in 1919
but eventually the truck disappeared.

In recent years, the original "Hook & Ladder No. 4" of the FFD
was rediscovered and restored by the Falmouth FD.
It is now on display in the lobby area of the 2nd floor
of the Falmouth Fire Headquarters at 399 Main Street.

April 2023

~ H & L No 4 F.F.D. ~


Falmouth Motorized
In 1919, Ray D Wells became the first fulltime Falmouth Fire Chief.
He immediately began to motorize and modernize the department.
Those first motorized apparatus are shown here in front of the old
fire headquarters on Main Street (right next to the current HQ Station).
A 1919 Chief's buggy, the 1920 Ahrens Fox Engine 1, a reconditioned
1920 Maxim Chemical & Hose 5, and a 1919 Ford Chemical Co 1.
Chief Wells was Chief from 1919 until about 1955, minus a few years
when he served in the military.

Engine 1
1920 Ahrens Fox 750 gpm Pumper.
Chain drive rear wheels.

Engine 1
1920 Ahrens Fox 750 gpm Pumper operating at a fire.

Engine 1
1920 Ahrens Fox 750 gpm Pumper on a hydrant.


Chemical & Hose Co 5
1920 Maxim Chemical & Hose company assigned to Woods Hole.

Hose 5 with a crew
1920 Maxim Chemical & Hose Company 5 and no less than 11 members.


Ladder 1
1922 Reo / Maxim Chemical & Ladder Company assigned to Headquarters.
Carried a number of wooden ladders, hooks, and extinguishers.
It would serve from about 1922 to 1931.


Engine 2
Falmouth bought another Ahrens Fox Pumper in 1927.
The 1000 gpm engine would serve as Engine 2 in Woods Hole
until the early 1960s and would be kept for parades for many years.

Engine 2
Falmouth 1927 Ahrens Fox drafting.

Engine 2
Falmouth Ahrens Fox Engine 2 in 1949 parade.

1929 Headquarters
Falmouth built a new Headquarters next to the old station in 1929.
The modern, 2 story brick station included a state of the art alarm room.

Alarm Room
Falmouth had begun installing a Gamewell fire alarm system in town in 1905.
By the time the new station opened in 1929, much of the town was covered
by street boxes. Alarms coming into the station would be sounded by bells
in fire stations and a horn on top of the station.

Gamewell Alarm System
Falmouth used the Gamewell Alarm System for over 100 years.
A piece of the system is also on display in Headquarters today
along with the old H&L No.4.

Ladder 1
Falmouth put a new Ahrens Fox city service ladder truck in service
as the second Ladder 1 in 1931 at the new Headquarters.
It would serve until replaced in 1949 by the first Falmouth Aerial Ladder.

Ladder 2
Falmouth put this 1938 Maxim city service ladder truck in service
as Ladder 2 in Woods Hole. It would go on to serve into the 1980s.

Ladder 2
Falmouth 1938 Maxim Ladder 2 in 1949 parade.

Ladder 2
Falmouth 1938 Maxim Ladder 2 in 1949 parade.

Ladder 2
The Falmouth Ladder 2 in Woods Hole.

Ladder 2
Ladder 2 carried a number of wooden ladders.


Station 2
Falmouth consolidated and eventually operated from 5 fire stations.
The Woods Hole Fire Station at 72 Water Street was built around 1920.
Originally Hose 5, it would serve as home to Engine 2 and Ladder 2
until the current station opened in 1976.

Station 2
Falmouth Engine 2 and Ladder 2 on Water Street
near Station 2.

Ladder 2
Falmouth Ladder 2 operating the deckgun at the
Wood Lumber Yard fire in 1963.


Station 3
This little firehouse was built about 1915 at 212 Main Street in North Falmouth.
It would be replaced in 1950 by the current Station 3 just down the road at
204 Old Main Street.

Engine 3
The original North Falmouth fire apparatus.
A 1929 Maxim Engine 3 and a 1922 Ford.

Engine 3
North Falmouth 1929 Maxim Engine 3 in 1949 parade.
It had a 300 gpm rotary gear pump and 100 gallon tank.
It was replaced in 1953. Mashpee FD then used it until 1957.

Engine 4
A 1930 Maxim Engine 4 was originally assigned to East Falmouth.
It served in East Falmouth 1930 until 1938, then in West Falmouth until 1964.


Station 4
Falmouth built the West Falmouth Fire Station at 555 West Falmouth Highway
around 1930.


Station 5
In 1930 Falmouth built this station on East Falmouth Highway in East Falmouth.
It was located just west of the current lights at Davisville Rd / Old Meetinghouse Rd.
It housed Engine 5 and Tank 1 until the new Station 5 was built in 1980.

Engine 5
In 1938, Falmouth got a new 10 wheel Maxim pumper for Engine 5.
The 500 gpm pumper had a large 1000 gallon water tank and enclosed cab.
The 1935 Ford 800 gallon Tank 1 parked behind the Engine.

Engine 5
The 1938 Maxim 10 wheel Engine 5 served until 1963.
The Mashpee FD then used it as their Engine 5 at the Route 130 station
until 1967 when it was put in South Mashpee until retiring in 1970.


Tank 1
The 1935 Ford 800 gallon tanker served in East Falmouth until 1965.

Engine 5 & Tank 1
The 1938 Maxim Engine 5 and 1935 Ford Tank 1 at a house fire.

Engine 5 & Tank 1
The 1938 Maxim Engine 5 and 1935 Ford Tank 1 at another house fire.


Engine 5
The 1000 gallon tank on Engine 5 came in handy for brush and forest fires.


Engine 5
The 1938 Maxim Engine 5 during a drill or demonstration
with the 1938 Maxim Ladder 2 and the 1949 Maxim Ladder 1.

Ladder 2
The 1938 Maxim city service Ladder 2 operating deckgun.


Barnstable County Brush Breaker No 1
The Barnstable County Forest Fire Department built its first brush breaker
in 1939. This Ford cab over engine brush breaker carried about 1000 gallons.
It was stationed in Cotuit from 1939 until 1942. It was then assigned to the
Falmouth Fire Department where it served at HQ until it moved to the
 new North Falmouth Station 3 in 1950.


Barnstable County Brush Breaker No 1
Barnstable County Brush Breaker No 1 served in Falmouth from 1942 until
about 1957. It then went to West Barnstable from 1957 to 1958. In 1958,
it went to the Gay Head Fire Department on Martha's Vineyard where
it would go on to actively serve until about 1973 and then in reserve
until it disappeared in the 1980s.


Falmouth Brush Truck
Falmouth used this 1940s former military scout car as a brush truck
known as Car 20 for a number of years. Shown in 1949 parade.


Falmouth Brush Truck
Another Falmouth brush truck. 1946 Dodge Power Wagon known as Car 30
carried about 200 gallons of water and could pump and roll.
At some point, some bars were added making it a brush breaker.

Falmouth Brush Truck
The 1946 Dodge Power Wagon brush truck in 1949 parade.

Falmouth Brush Truck
Car 30 served Falmouth until about 1980. It then went on to serve
on Naushon Island until about 2009 when it was sold to a private
owner and completely rehabbed.

Privately Owned
The 1946 Dodge Power Wagon, former Car 30, cleaned up real nice.
2010 Photo

Ladder 1 - First Aerial on Cape Cod
Falmouth Fire Department bought the first aerial ladder truck on Cape Cod in 1949.
The 1949 Maxim had a small tank and pump, as well as the 65' metal aerial ladder.
It also carried a large supply of wooden ladders.
It was the 3rd Ladder 1 and first aerial ladder.

Ladder 1
Falmouth's new Ladder 1 in 1949 parade.
This truck was the only aerial ladder on Cape Cod for almost 20 years
 until Hyannis got theirs' in 1968. This truck retired that same year
and was replaced by a 1969 American LaFrance 100' Ladder Truck.


Ladder 1
Falmouth's ladder truck training on the hose tower
at the old fire station, next to the new Headquarters.
The old station housed some apparatus and the repair
shop for many years before being replaced by another
separate building that would house rescue vehicles.

Ladder Drill
Falmouth firefighters training with wooden ground ladder
against Headquarters hose tower.

Ladder Drill
Falmouth firefighters training with ladders.


Ladder 1
Putting on the ladder pipe.


Ladder 1
Practicing and demonstrating the use of the ladder pipe.


1949 Parade
The Chief's car leads the way out of Headquarters for the 1920 Engine 1
and 1949 Maxim Ladder 1 for a parade down Main Street in 1949.


1949 Parade
Many people turned out to watch the parade that included much of the Falmouth
Fire Department's apparatus.

1949 Parade
Falmouth 1938 Ladder 2 and 1929 Maxim Engine 3.

1949 Parade
Falmouth apparatus including the 1927 Engine 2, 1938 Engine 5, and 1935 Tank 1.

1949 Parade
About a 1948 Ford service truck and lighting trailer in 1949 parade.


1949 Parade
About a 1948 GMC served as a canteen and a 1948 Dodge
that served as Fire Alarm service truck. 1949 parade.

1949 Parade
A Falmouth Ambulance in the 1949 parade.
Falmouth did not have a hospital until 1962, so patients were typically transported to
Tobey Hospital in Wareham.


Ambulance Call
The Falmouth town ambulance providing care.


Quissett Engine
This engine served as the Quissett Volunteer F.D. Engine 1
for a period of time. Quissett is located between Woods Hole and Town.



Station 3
The new North Falmouth Fire Station 3 opened in 1950.
It originally had a flat roof.
In 1953 a new Engine 3 and the 1939 County Breaker were assigned.


Engine 3
The 1953 Diamond T / Robinson Boiler Works Engine 3 pumper 750 gpm
and carried 1000 gallons. It served in North Falmouth until retired in 1981.

Engine 3
The pump on the 1953 Engine 3.


Engine 3
Pump testing and feeding a portable deckgun.

Engine 3
The rear of the 1953 Engine 3 was equipped with a deckgun.


North Falmouth Fire
This fire in the 1950s destroyed a large North Falmouth home.

Car 28
This 1955 Ford was used by the Fire Inspector.


Falmouth Brush Truck
This 1955 Dodge Power Wagon brush truck served as Car 33 into the 1970s.
It was than turned into a generator / lighting plant.

Falmouth Lighting Plant
The 1955 Dodge Power Wagon former brush truck Car 33 became a lighting plant.


Flammable Liquids
The ability to extinguish flammable liquid (gasoline, oil) fires
brought about a lot of training and use of foam in the 1950s and 1960s.


Falmouth Fire Chief
Falmouth Fire Chief Leighton "Pat" Peck served as Chief from about 1955 to 1977.

Falmouth Fire Chief
Falmouth Fire Chief Leighton "Pat" Peck (right) in the Alarm Room.



Thank you to the Falmouth Fire Department for sharing some
of these previously unseen photos (many as slides) included in this
feature. Original photographers are unknown with many images.
The information accuracy and history can not be guaranteed
but is hopefully a fair representation of some of the
apparatus and history of the Falmouth FD.



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