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A Special Feature
CAPE COD BRUSH BREAKERS
"A pictorial history of the unique forest firefighting apparatus"
By Britton Crosby
First Posted January 2001 - Re-released April 2014
(Updated April 2014)
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Cape Cod Brush Breakers
Second Generation 1952
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|11 - Second Generation Brush Breaker - 1952
1952 Ford TOB Osterville Breaker
The Second Generation Brush Breaker
In 1952 the Town of Barnstable Forest Fire Department took the barwork and the water tank from
the original 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.
Grass and brush fires were very common on the Cape.
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.
When replaced in 1967, this brush breaker saw additional service as Breaker 204 in
the Barnstable Fire Department.
Brush breakers could drive through the woods and use short sections of
hose while remaining on the truck as it extinguished fire, or large coils of
hose could be dragged into the woods. A variety of tools were also carried.
The brush breaker is used to supply lines at the fire school oil pit fires.