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FIRE DEPARTMENT
Brush & Forest Fire Apparatus History
BARNSTABLE COUNTY
 

~ BARNSTABLE COUNTY ~
FOREST FIRE DEPARTMENT
1939 - 1982
Page Updated March 16, 2022


 

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Barnstable County Forest Fire Department - Brush Breaker No.1 - 1939 Ford
 

PAGE CONTENTS


MAIN
M - Map
1A - No. 1 - 1939 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Brush Breaker
1B - No. 2 - 1942 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Brush Breaker
1C - No. 3 - 1949 Ford/Robinson 175/650 Brush Breaker C13 Orleans
1D - No. 4 - 1951 Ford/Robinson 175/700 Brush Breaker C12 Dennis
1E - No. 1 - 1957 Ford/Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C15 Falmouth
1F - No. 2 - 1958 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C14 West Barnstable
1G - No. 3 - 1960 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C13 Orleans
1H - No. 4 - 1963 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C12 Dennis
1I  - No. 1 - 1971 International/Thibault 250/800 Brush Breaker C15 - Falmouth
1J  - No. 2 - 1982 ('67) International/Young 250/1000 Brush Breaker - WBFD B295

MORE
2A - No. 1 - 1939 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Brush Breaker
2B - No. 2 - 1942 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Brush Breaker
2C - No. 3 - 1949 Ford/Robinson 175/650 Brush Breaker C13 Orleans
2D - No. 4 - 1951 Ford/Robinson 175/700 Brush Breaker C12 Dennis
2E - No. 1 - 1957 Ford/Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C15 Falmouth
2F  - No. 2 - 1958 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C14 West Barnstable
2G - No. 3 - 1960 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C13 Orleans
2H - No. 4 - 1963 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker C12 Dennis
2I   - No. 1 - 1971 International/Thibault 250/800 Brush Breaker C15 - Falmouth
2J  - No. 2 - 1982 ('67) International/Young 250/1000 Brush Breaker - WBFD B295
 

 

 

M

MAP

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BARNSTABLE COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS


1685 - Incorporated as COUNTY of BARNSTABLE
394 - Square Miles - AREA
228,996 - Population - (2020) CENSUS
580.9 - Density PER SQ MILE
 
 

1A

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Barnstable County - No.1 - 1939 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Brush Breaker
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Dept - 1939 Ford COE/Robinson Boiler 125/1000 Brush Breaker
(G Peters collection)


Barnstable County established a County Forest Fire Department during the late 1930s. The first fire truck built was a 1939 Ford COE (Cab Over Engine) truck with a Marmon Harrington AWD 6x6 chassis. It was powered by a Ford 95 HP motor and had a 4 speed/2 speed transfer case manual transmission. The truck would do about 35-40 MPH over the road. The body of the truck was produced by the A. F. Robinson Boiler Works Company in Cambridge. The truck had a 1000 gallon water tank and a 125 gpm PTO pump. It also had a 4 cylinder Model A water cooled engine that powered a second 125 gpm auxiliary pump that enabled the truck to pump and roll through the woods.

This truck, recognized by its 1939 oval shaped Ford radiator grill, was first assigned to the newly built (1937-38) Cotuit Fire Station on High Street. The truck was staffed and operated by the members of the Cotuit Fire Department and would respond to brush and forest fires in Barnstable County or even Plymouth County when needed. It remained in Cotuit from 1939 to 1942.

In 1942, Barnstable County placed its second brush breaker in service. It went to Cotuit, and the N0.1 truck was reassigned to the Falmouth Fire Department at the Main Street Fire Station. It was operated by Falmouth through the WWII years and is seen in parades held in Falmouth. Around 1953, Falmouth opened a new North Falmouth Fire Station 3 and No.1 was moved to that station. It continued to run out of the North Falmouth station until about May 10, 1957 when replaced by a new No.1 breaker.

The 1939 brush breaker No.1 was moved to the West Barnstable Fire Department from 1957 until 1958. It was replaced again in 1958 and was retired from service with Barnstable County after serving for about 19 years. At that point, Gay Head Fire Department was getting organized on Martha's Vineyard. The 1939 No.1 was gifted to the Gay Head Fire Department where it continued to serve from 1958 to until about 1972-73. Even after that, it was still seen outside the Gay Head Fire Station as late as 1985, before it finally disappeared. All in all, about a 46 year career.  

 

1B

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Barnstable County - No.2 - 1942 Ford COE/Robinson 125/1000 Breaker
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Dept - No.2 - 1942 Ford COE/Robinson 125/1000 Breaker


The Barnstable County Forest Fire Department built its second brush breaker in 1942. Based on the design of the 1939 truck, a new 1942 Ford COE, Marmon Harrington 6x6 chassis was used for the new No.2 truck. The 1942 Ford cab changed a little, most significantly by the change in the radiator grill which had a more square and vertical look than the 1939 Ford.

No.2 had a 100 HP Ford V-8 and 4 speed manual transmission, and was capable of about 35-40 MPH over the road. Like the first truck it had a 1000 gallon water tank, 125 gpm PTO pump and a 125 gpm water cooled 4 cylinder pump for pump and roll duty. A. F. Robinson Boiler Works in Cambridge also built this truck.

The new No.2 was assigned to the Cotuit Fire Department in 1942 and the old 1939 No.1 was then moved to the Falmouth Fire Department. No.2 operated out of the Cotuit Station from 1942 until about 1948, when it was reassigned to West Barnstable, as it first organized its Fire Department in 1949. West Barnstable Fire Department operated the 1942 breaker until about June 1957 when the truck was sold to the Mashpee Fire Department as their first brush breaker.

Mashpee put a little work into the old truck in 1957, putting a Ford 332 cubic inch 200 HP motor in it, a 5 speed transmission, 250 gpm pump, and some additional front push bars. It would go on to serve in Mashpee from 1957 until about 1977 when it retired after about 35 years of work.

 

1C

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Barnstable County - No.3 - 1949 Ford 175/650 Brush Breaker - C13
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.3 - 1949 Ford COE/Robinson 175/650 Breaker


The third Barnstable County Brush Breaker was built around 1949. It was built on a Ford chassis with a Ford V-8 motor, and 4x4 transmission. The truck was also built by the Robinson Boiler Works in Cambridge, but took on a significantly different look from No.1 and No.2. The truck was designed a little smaller to be able to fit into the Orleans Fire Station. It had a 175 gpm PTO pump and 650 gallon water tank. In addition it had a 150 gpm auxiliary pump mounted on top of the truck near to 2 reels of forestry hose. The truck was good for 45-50 mph over the road.

The truck No.3 was also known as C-13 on the radio. It was assigned to the 44 Main Street, Orleans station. It served at the Orleans Fire Department until it was replaced by a larger No.3 in 1960.

 

1D

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Barnstable County - No.4 - 1951 Ford/Robinson 175/700 Brush Breaker - C12
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.4 - 1951 Ford/Robinson 175/700 Breaker


In about 1951, Barnstable County built its fourth Brush Breaker. The 1951 Ford V-8 125 HP truck was built by the Robinson Boiler Works in Cambridge. The Marmon-Harrington 4x4 chassis truck looked different from the previous trucks. No.4 was also known as C-12. It was assigned to the Dennis Fire Department operating out of the South Dennis station from 1951 until replaced in about 1963.
 

1E

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Barnstable County - No.1 - 1957 Ford 6x6/Maxim 250/1000 Breaker - C15
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.1 - 1957 Ford 6x6/Maxim 250/800 Breaker


The SECOND GENERATION Barnstable County Forest Fire Service Brush Breaker No.1 was built on a 1956 Ford cab over chassis and put in service in 1957. The 10 wheel drive truck had a 250 gpm pump and 800 gallon tank. It was the first to be built by Maxim Motors in Middleborough, Mass. The No.1 truck was called C-15 on the radio. It was assigned to the North Falmouth Fire Station 3 from 1957 until about 1972-1973. When it was replaced, it would go on to serve a number of years in Eastham until it went out of service.
 

1F

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Barnstable County - No.2 - 1958 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker - C14
 



Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.2 - 1958 Maxim 6x6 250/800 Brush Breaker - C14


The next SECOND GENERATION Barnstable County Brush Breaker was the first "fully" Maxim built brush breaker. Unlike previous trucks built on commercial chassis, Maxim built this custom made truck from the ground up. No.2 was a 1958 Maxim with a 250 gpm pump and 800 gallon tank. The truck also known as C-14 was assigned to the West Barnstable Fire Station.

This truck served in West Barnstable from 1958 until it was replaced in about 1982.

 

1G

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Barnstable County - No.3 - 1960 Maxim 6x6 250/800 Brush Breaker - C13
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.3 - 1960 Maxim 6x6 250/800 Brush Breaker C13


The third of the SECOND GENERATION Barnstable County Brush Breakers was built by Maxim in 1960. It was very much the same design as the 1958 Maxim, with 250 gpm and 800 gallon tank. This truck was assigned to the Orleans Fire Station where it operated from 1960 until about 1982-83 when the Barnstable County Forest Fire Service ceased service.

This breaker would go on to serve a period of time in Eastham and then in Brewster.

 

1H

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Barnstable County - No.4 - 1963 Maxim 6x6 250/800 Brush Breaker - C12
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.4 - 1963 Maxim 6x6 250/800 Brush Breaker


The last of the SECOND GENERATION Barnstable County Brush Breakers was another Maxim built in 1963. The truck was pretty much the same as the 1958 and 1960 Maxims. The 250 gpm, 800 gallon breaker went to the Dennis Fire Department operating out of the West Dennis Fire Station. It replaced the 1951 No.4.

The truck operated as C-12 would remain in service in Dennis from 1963 until about 1982-83 when the Barnstable County Forest Fire Service stopped supporting the service. Soon after that, the 1963 Breaker went to the Brewster Fire Department and served a number of years as Breaker 235.

 

 

1I

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Barnstable County - No.1 - 1971 Inter/Thibault 300/800 Brush Breaker - C15
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.1 - 1971 International 6x6/Thibault 300/800 C-15


The Barnstable County Forest Fire Service built the first THIRD GENERATION County Brush Breaker on a 1971 International 6x6 chassis. The truck was built in Canada by the Pierre Thibault fire apparatus builder. It had a 300 gpm pump and carried about 800 gallons of water. The truck was delivered and in service in early 1973 at the North Falmouth Fire Station 3. The truck had a whole new look and carried a variety of equipment including a large supply of hose and ground ladders.

Known as C-15, it served in Falmouth as a County breaker and in about 1982-83 was taken over by the Falmouth Fire Department. It became Breaker 15 with Falmouth and would serve a long career with Falmouth until it was retired in about 2014, more than 40 years in total.

 

1J

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Barnstable County - No.2 - 1982 (1967) Inter/T Young 250/1000 Breaker
 

1967 International 6x6/1982 Ted Young 250/1000 Brush Breaker


The Barnstable County Forest Fire Service had begun replacing the Second Generation county brush breakers in 1971 with a new THIRD GENERATION No.1 in Falmouth. By about 1982, it was time to replace the 1958 Maxim No.2 in West Barnstable. The history is a little foggy, but sometime between when the 1967 former military 6x6 chassis was acquired and construction had begun by local builder Ted Young on Cape Cod, the Barnstable County Forest Fire Service went out of business in 1982-83.

Fortunately, the truck was completed with whatever financial commitment the County had made, but was never lettered or considered a "County" breaker when it went in service as West Barnstable Breaker 295 in 1982. It had about a 250 gpm pump and 1000 gallon tank. It was powered by a gasoline motor and had a manual transmission. It replaced the 1958 County breaker C-14.

The truck served from West Barnstable until about 2013. A plan to rehab the truck with a diesel motor and automatic transmission stalled out after a few years of the truck being out of service. It was game over by about 2016, ending some 77 years of Barnstable County Forest Fire Service Brush Breakers serving Cape Cod.

 
 
 

MORE PHOTOS
 

 
 

2A

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Barnstable County - No.1 - 1939 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Brush Breaker
 

The Barnstable County Brush Breaker No.1 - 1939 Ford

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.1 - 1939 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Breaker
 

The 1939 Ford No.1 started out in Cotuit from 1939-1942 when it went to the Falmouth Fire Department. It is shown here at a parade in Falmouth in the 1950s.

No. 1 in the Falmouth parade.

The new North Falmouth Fire Station 3 was opened around 1953. The 1939 Ford County Brush Breaker no.1 is shown here with the 1953 Diamond T/Robinson Boiler Falmouth Engine 3.

The 1939 Ford went over to serve the Gay Head Fire Department in 1958.

The 1939 Ford was still found outside the Gay Head Fire Station in 1985, although it was retired some time before that.

 

 

2B

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Barnstable County - No.2 - 1942 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Brush Breaker
 

Barnstable County Forest Fire Service - No.2 - 1942 Ford/Robinson 125/1000 Breaker
 

The 1942 Ford/Robinson Boiler Barnstable County No. 2 was assigned to the Cotuit Fire Station. A documentary film of the 1946 great forest fire in the Upper Cape featured footage of the 1942 Ford responding from the Cotuit station.

In about June 1957, the 1942 Ford County No. 2 was sold to the Mashpee Fire Department as their first brush breaker. Mashpee repowered the truck, improved on some of its capabilities, and operated it as a brush breaker until about 1977.

The 1942 Ford, former County No. 2 served as Mashpee Engine 3 (aka 250 on the radio). The truck was repowered, had a larger pump, and additional push bars making it one of the most utilized and successful brush breakers of its time showing up to many fires in Barnstable and Plymouth County over the years. The truck was affectionately known to locals as "Geranimo" (lettered middle front).
 

 

2C

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Barnstable County - No. 3 - 1949 Ford/Robinson 125/650 Brush Breaker
 

The 1949 Ford/Robinson Brush Breaker No. 3 is demonstrated at Barnstable County complex.
 

The 1949 Ford was assigned to Orleans.

The Barnstable County No. 3 is shown at the Leonard Pump Foundry in Osterville at the corner of Main and Pond Streets in Osterville. Leonard build power take off (PTO) positive pressure gear pumps in Osterville. These were used on a significant number of fire trucks on Cape Cod over the years. (G Peters collection)

An advertisement showing the 1949 and 1939 Barnstable County Breakers.

 

 

 

2D

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Barnstable County - No. 4 - 1951 Ford/Robinson 150/700 Brush Breaker
 

Barnstable County - No. 4 - 1951 Ford/Robinson 150/700 Brush Breaker in Dennis
 

The 1951 Ford County brush breaker shown on the left next to some of the early Dennis Station 1 apparatus.

 

 

2E

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Barnstable County - No. 1 - 1957 Ford/Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker - C15
 

Barnstable County - No. 1 - 1956 Ford delivered in 1957, built by Maxim.
 

Some photos showing the new 1957 Ford during some early training in Falmouth.

The 1956-57 Ford/Maxim Brush Breaker No.1 (C-15) served in North Falmouth until replaced in early 1973 by the new 1971 International/Thibault C-15.

The 1956 Ford at the North Falmouth Fire Station 3 from about 1957 until about 1973.

Sometime after being replaced in Falmouth c.1973, the 1956-57 Ford/Maxim went on to serve for a period of time with the Eastham Fire Department. Eastham had no water service and the additional 800 gallons of water helped support firefighting in town for years.

The 1956-57 Ford County No. 1, after its career in Falmouth and Eastham retired in the early 1980s. Shown here at the old West Barnstable "Chicken Farm" that housed WBFD apparatus for a number of years before the new WBFD station was built. This old truck was most likely sold for scrap.

 

 

2F

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Barnstable County - No. 2 - 1958 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker - C14
 

Barnstable County - No. 2 - 1958 Maxim 6x6 250/800 Brush Breaker.
Maxim delivery photo.

 
 
 


 

The 1958 Maxim carried the Barnstable County Forest Fire Service lettering and the West Barnstable Fire Department seal in this photo, as well as the C-14 radio number on the door. Shown at the WBFD Fire Station on Route 6A (Main Street).

The County Breaker C14 shared the 2 bay fire station with West Barnstable's 1956 Ford/Bean 500 gpm, 500 gallon Engine 292, shown here at a grass fire that endangered these structures.

The West Barnstable County Brush Breaker C-14 is shown being refilled by the 1944 Diamond T Sandwich Tanker 1 (148). A 1939 GMC Tank Truck, Mashpee 254, shown in the center. It was a 200 gpm, 850 tanker privately funded by the Lilly family at no cost to the town. The fire was on Great Oak Road in Mashpee in August 1961, started by Otis Boy Scouts.

In May 1978, a large fast moving fire took off in Mashpee near Mashpee Neck Road. All hands were called in, including West Barnstable. The siren on top of the West Barnstable station sounded and members staffed both the 1958 Breaker C-14 and the 1973 (1965) International 5000 gallon "Super Tanker 296."

 

 

2G

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Barnstable County - No. 3 - 1960 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker - C13
 

Barnstable County - No. 3 - 1960 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker - C13 at Orleans.
Shown with 1953 FWD Engine 2 and 1965 Mack C Engine 1.
 

1960 Maxim breaker C13 after leaving Orleans went to the Eastham Fire Department about 1985. Eastham put a unique special touch on the front bars!

The old C-13 smiling in Eastham.

In about 1988 or 1989, Eastham began construction on their new Fire Station. The old 1960 Maxim was picked up by the Brewster Fire Department and was assigned as Breaker 255. It served with the 1963 Maxim former C12, Brewster B235, for several years.

The old 1960 Maxim (C-13) shown at the end of life in Brewster.

 

 

2H

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Barnstable County - No. 4 - 1963 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker - C12
 

Barnstable County - No. 4 - 1963 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker - Dennis
 

The Maxim delivery photo of the 1963 Maxim No. 4 (C-12) served in Dennis from about 1963-1982.

The 1963 Maxim No. 4, along with a 1950s GMC patrol truck, in front of the Dennis Fire Station on Route 28 West Dennis.

County Breaker C-12 during a pump & roll demonstration. 

 

The County Breaker No. 4 (C-12) along with other Dennis apparatus at Dennis HQ in mid 1970s.

Upon from retirement with the County, C12 went to the Brewster Fire Department and became Brewster Breaker 235 from about 1982 to about 1999.

Serving as Brewster Breaker 235.

The 1963 former County No. 4 (C-12), after serving a number of years as Brewster Breaker 235, is shown out of service behind the Brewster station c.2016.

 

 

2I

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Barnstable County - No. 1 - 1971 Inter/Thibault 300/800 Brush Breaker - C15
 

The 1971 County No. 1 brush breaker under construction at Thibault in Canada.

Falmouth Breaker 15 at a Falmouth dump fire in 1980s.

Falmouth Breaker 15 at an Otis fire in April 1986.

Falmouth Breaker 15 at North Falmouth May 1989

Falmouth Breaker 15 at East Falmouth Station 5 in 2003.

Falmouth Breaker 15 after retirement behind Station 5 March 2014

 

 

2J

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Barnstable County - No. 2 - 1982 ('67) Inter/Young 250/1000 - WBFD B295
 

West Barnstable Breaker 295 at the old Chicken House station. March 1986

March 1986 - Otis Fire

Sept 1988

Nov 2001

Nov 2001

March 2013 - Fire in Sandwich

 

 
 
 

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~ BARNSTABLE COUNTY ~
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