May 8 - 1911: Cape fire burns over two square miles of forest and farms

Militia called out to fight forest fires around Chatham
This 1911 Packard is a typical Fire Truck of the era

1911: Militia called out to fight forest fires

Fires spread near Chatham and Pleasant Lake

On this day in 1911 fires in timber districts where the undergrowth had become unusually dry from lack of rain caused damage at many points in New England, sweeping over thousands of acres of valuable woodland and burning thousands of feet of prepared lumber. 

In several instances the flames spread to dwelling houses and other buildings.

There were fires here on the Cape near Chatham.

The Cape fire burned over two square miles of forest and farm.

Fire Trucks of the era

The gargantuan vehicle with sirens and ladders and hoses that we see today is not how firefighters have always traveled.

In the middle of the 19th century firemen went began using engines, and that was when the steam-powered fire truck was introduced.

Finally,in the early 20th century,the final change was made. A gasoline-powered or internal-combustion engine fire truck which we currently use today.

It wasn't until the 1930 when ladders began being installed on the trucks, and this was only due to the fact that size of buildings were getting taller, and the fire fighters were in need of a way to reach upper floors.

On the right is an example of the kind of fire truck available in 1911. This is an American La France.

See the complete story titled "Call Militia to Fight Forest Fires" below.

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