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FIRE DEPARTMENT
Brush & Forest Fire Apparatus History
BARNSTABLE COUNTY
 

~ DENNIS ~
FIRE DEPARTMENT
Page Updated January 17, 2022


 

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CAPE COD BRUSH BREAKERS

| MAIN | HISTORY | FIRES | EARLY TRUCKS | DEPARTMENTS | YEARS |

FIRE DEPARTMENT

 ~ Dennis Fire Department ~
Page Updated December 19 , 2020 

 
 

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     - Oldest Apparatus
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     - Newest Apparatus
 
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APPARATUS - DENNIS FIRE DEPARTMENT

1951 - No.4 - C12 - 1951 Ford COE / Robinson Boiler 150/800 Brush Breaker (DE)

1947 - Patrol - 1947 Chevy Patrol Truck.
1948 - Truck 2 - 1948 Brush Breaker. (Sta.2) 
1963 - No.4 - C12 - 1963 Maxim 250/800 Brush Breaker (DE-BR)

1971 - Truck 2 - 110 - 1971 Dodge Power Wagon 250/300 Brush Breaker (Sta.2)
1975 - Truck 3 - 105 - 1975 Dodge Power Wagon 250/400 Forestry (Sta.1)
1999 - Truck 110 - 1999 Ford F450 225/400 Forestry Truck (Sta.1)
1999 - Truck 108 - 1999 Ford F450 225/400 Forestry Truck (was 110)

 

HISTORY

     The Dennis Fire Department became "official" on March 8, 1932 when the town accepted MGL Ch.48, sec 42, 43, and 44 establishing a fire department and fire chief. The first Fire Chief was Richard S Hall, who had been serving as the town's Forest Warden since 1930. He would continue as Fire Chief and Forest Warden until 1939.

     Prior to the establishment of a fire department, the extinguishment of fires fell under the responsibility of the Forest Wardens. The Forest Wardens were appointed positions, who had a small budget, to put out fires. There were several wardens in the 1920s including, Charles E, Pierce (1920-21), Alvin S.Taylor (1921-25), Nathan D. Eldridge (1925-28), Earle H. Wittemore (1928-30)and  Richard S. Hall served as Forest Warden (1930-39) and as the first Fire Chief (1932-39). Annual reports typically included mention of several fires each year, many of which caused by the railroad.

     The first mention of a Fire Truck, apparatus, and equipment comes in the 1928 Annual Report. About $300 was appropriated at the March 1928 meeting and paid out to Hyannis Auto Sales for a truck. In addition, about $3000 was appropriated to buy (2) forest fire pumps and 5,000 feet of hose, split between the North and South sides of town. Another meeting held in Aug 1928 appropriated $300 for a second Fire Truck.

     The 1929 Report mentions (2) Fire Trucks with 200 gallon tanks, (1) in South and (1) in North.

     In the 1931 Report, $760 was approved to have Maxim put a body on a truck at the North side station, similar to that on the South truck. Funds were also approved for sirens in town.

     It is uncertain where the earliest fire apparatus might have been housed.

     Dennis apparently had a Firemen's Association before the department formed. That association apparently had purchased at least 1 truck and some equipment, which it donated to the town in 1932 once the department was established.

     In 1930, Dennis built a new "Consolidated School" (Ezra Baker School) which replaced the 5 Grammar schools in Dennis villages (North, South, West, East, and Dennisport). The old schools had been built around 1860. Two of the old schools were then utilized by the town as the first fire stations in town. One school, located on Main Street in South Dennis became the Company 1 (South) Station and the other, located on Old Bass River Road near Main Street (Rte 6A) on the North side became Company 2.

     Over the years Dennis would have a number of apparatus that would be used to fight forest fires.

 

 

     As the Dennis Fire Department was organized in 1932, two of the former school houses were converted into fire stations. Company 1 (above) was located on Main Street in South Dennis, approximately between what is now Farm Lane and Goosebay Lane.

     Town Reports show that several basic fire trucks were used by Dennis prior to 1932 and up to about 1937 when a new Engine 1 was purchased.

     It is believed that the three fire trucks on the left in the photo above were purchased prior to the official organized department. They would be a 1929 Ford Model A (left), 1933 Chevy (center), and 1927 Dodge hose reel (right). The photo was probably taken in the late 1930s, since the truck on the far right in the photo is believed to be the first engine bought by the town "fire department." It was a 1937 Ford/Maxim 500 gpm pumper "Engine 1"

 

     This early Dennis fire engine appears to be about a 1927 Dodge brothers. Quite a bit of money was spent at the time by Forest Warden Earle H. Wittemore to purchase a couple pumps and as much as 5000' of forestry hose. The reel on this truck probably carried a lot of that hose.
 

     This appears to be about a 1929 Ford Model A fire truck.

     This appears to be another of Dennis's early fire trucks operating at a woods fire. Possibly about a 1931 Chevy.

     The 1937 Ford/Maxim 500 gpm Engine 1 pumper and crew at the South Dennis fire station.
 

     The 1937 Ford/Maxim Engine 1 at Station 1.

 

     Company 2 was located on the north side of town in the general area of Old Bass River Road and Main Street (Route 6A). The old school house (fire station) is next to the Dennis Union Church. The present Station 2 is believed to be about where the school was.
 

     Engine 2 on the North side was about a 1939 International pumper.

     The 1939 International Engine 2 along with about a 1950 GMC.

     One of the engines on the north side was this approximately 1941 International. It may have been a Maxim 500 gpm pumper according to records. It is believed to have served until replaced in 1967.
 

     This 1947 Chevy served as a patrol truck. Shown as 178. Believed to have been originally assigned to the North station.
 

     Dennis had unique looking apparatus for many years. This is about a 1950 GMC (possibly Farrar) truck that served as an engine, tanker, and ladder truck. This photo shows a 179 on the door, which is believed to have been the "forest fire department" number at the time. Later this truck is shown as No.2.

     1950 GMC as Truck 2.

     The 1950 GMC at a fire. In the background is the 1951 Ford/Robinson Barnstable County Forest Fire Department brush breaker No.4.

     In 1951, the Barnstable County Forest Fire Department assigned a Ford/Robinson County Brush Breaker No.4 to the Dennis Fire Department. It is shown here on the left, next to about a 1936 GMC Chevy 1.5 fire truck and the 1937 Ford/Maxim Engine 1.

     Barnstable County Forest Fire Service No.4 was built in 1951. It was built on a 1951 Ford 6 wheel all wheel drive chassis. Also built by Robinson Boiler of Cambridge, the truck featured a higher sided body that provided some additional protection for personnel riding within the body around the 800 gallon water tank and 150 gpm pump.

     County No.4, also known as C-12, was assigned to the Dennis Fire Department.
Harold Cobb photos.


 

     The 1951 Ford brush breaker would serve until it was replaced by the next generation brush breaker in 1963.

     This 1953 GMC "Tank Truck" was almost identical to the 1950 on the North side.  No.3 served on the South side until about 1975.

     A 1957 GMC patrol truck.

 

     The Barnstable County Forest Fire Service put this 1963 Maxim 800 gallon brush breaker in service as C-12 in Dennis. It replaced the 1951 Ford County No.4. The 1958, 1960, and 1963 Maxim brush breakers all looked alike.

     The rear view of the 1963 Maxim No.4 (C-12).

     Barnstable County brush breaker C-12 and the town's 1957 GMC patrol truck.
 

 


 

 

 

     The 1963 Maxim brush breaker is shown with other Dennis apparatus at the West Dennis Fire Station 1 on Route 28. The Maxim F pumper is the 1972 Engine 3, so the photo was likely taken in 1972-73.

 

 

     In 1971, Dennis replaced their 1948 brush breaker and the 1957 Patrol truck with this Dodge Power Wagon/Maynard(?) brush breaker.

     Brush Truck 110, also known as Truck 2, had a 250 gpm pump and 300 gallon water tank. Here it is shown inside the North Dennis Fire Station 2 where it was assigned.

     Dennis renumbered this brush breaker in 1999. It became Breaker 118. The number 110 would then be utilized for the Ladder truck that had been Truck 108.  The 1971 Dodge was retired by Dennis in about 2001. It would then go on to serve in Nantucket for several years.

 

     The 1971 former Dennis brush breaker in Nantucket 2003.

     The truck finished out its Nantucket career on Tuckernuck Island.

 

      In 1975, Dennis put this Dodge brush truck in service as Truck 3 (105) at Station 1. The truck pumped 250 gpm and carried 350 gallons. It replaced the 1953 GMC "Tank Truck" Truck 3.

 

 

     In 1999, the Dennis Fire Department built a new Forestry Truck. The 1999 Ford F450 4x4 truck was built on a flatbed style truck. It has a 400 gallon tank and 225 gpm pump. The truck was initially numbered 110. It replaced the 2 older forestry units, the 1971 Dodge and 1975 Dodge.

 

     The 1999 Ford Forestry truck was renumbered 108 in 2002. The Ladder truck was then renumbered as Truck 110.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT
~ Dennis Fire Department ~

 

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