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1940's The Second Generation 1950's

By Britton Crosby
January 2001

The Second Generation Brush Breaker
In 1952 the Town of Barnstable Forest Fire Department took the barwork and the water tank from the 1937
brush breaker and built a new brush breaker on this 1952 Ford Marmon Herrington chassis.
New fire chief and forest warden Charles Hallett (r) stands proudly with Deputy Herbert Coombs and the new breaker..

Town of Barnstable 1952 Ford Marmon Herrington Brush Breaker undergoes off road tests.

The brush breaker carried the 800 gallons of water so it also came in handy at structure fires as well.
The brush breaker would typically be at the fire while the pumper could be down the street at a hydrant
or drafting from a cistern, pond, or bog.

The 1952 brush breaker had a new water tank and new body work installed in the late 1950's.
The reel was removed in favor of a sheltered area behind the cab for firemen to ride and operate from.
A separate pump motor in the back of the apparatus allows the brush breaker to pump and roll
thereby putting out fire on the move, getting around grass and brush fires without firemen
having to get off the apparatus.

The brush breaker served assorted duties including wetting down the fairgrounds.

With pump and roll capabilities brush breakers can drive around the fire quickly extinguishing grass fires.
In other cases, coils of forestry hose stored in the top of the truck can be dragged by firemen to extinguish fires
within reach of hoselines.

Cape Cod brush breakers were sometimes called to assist at Plymouth County fires such as this Carver fire.
A crew of six was not unusual on the brush breaker.



As brush breakers come out of the woods, it is important to clean flammable debris off the truck.
It is also important to check brake lines, steering mechanisms, tires and other mechanical
parts of the truck which can take a serious beating operating off road. As long as everything is
working properly, the water tank is refilled and firemen are provided water before going back into
the woods for more work.,


Firemen take a lot of pride in their apparatus. Having a good brush breaker is no different.

The brush breaker is used to supply lines at the fire school oil pit fires.

The second generation of County Brush Breakers were also built in the early 1950's.
This breaker demonstrates its pumping capabilities for County officials at the County Complex.

The Orleans Fire Department housed one of the early 1950's County Breakers.

This 1947 Dodge Power Wagon brush breaker was built for the Town of Barnstable
Forest Fire Department and was stationed in the Cotuit Fire Department.

Cotuit's 1947 Dodge Power Wagon.


Town of Barnstable Forest Fire patrolmen stand with their 1950 patrol truck.
Patrol trucks were typically the only manned apparatus in town and were often first to arrive at
incidents of any type. When not fighting fires, they maintained fire roads and equipment.

Falmouth Fire Department used several Dodge Power Wagon brush trucks.
Many of these power wagons were former military vehicles.

Falmouth Fire Department 1940's Ford tanker.

Bourne Fire Department operated this 1944 Dodge brush breaker until the 1970's.

This 1957 Dodge Power Wagon forestry unit served Yarmouth until 1994..

Harwich Fire Department operated this large brush breaker built on a 1950's Ford.

The Harwich Brush Breaker, dubbed the White Elephant, retired in the 1970's.

The new and old
Sandwich replaced its 1940's Ford brush breaker with a late 1950's Dodge.


In 1957 the Mashpee Fire Department built this Brush Breaker on an International chassis.
It had a 750 gallon water tank, 750 gpm front mount centrifugal pump and a separate
motor and fire pump on the rear step. Built by Maynard, it served as a structural apparatus as well
as a brush breaker. This truck just recently (2000) went out of service.




More Pages of Brush Breakers

1920's The First Generation 1930's

1960's The Third Generation 1970's

1980's The Latest Generation 1990's




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