May 9 - 2007: Stories of lost Cape Cod bodies begin to emerge

1957: Huge fire threatens Cape Cod homes
Governor Foster Furculo ordered 200 National Guardsmen, 200 state employees and convicts from state prison out to fight the fire. Wiki Commons photo.

2007: Officials ID second body in mix-up of remains

Remains misidentified at State Medical Examiner's office

On this day in 2007 it was reported that although Joseph Sullivan had died on April 1, 2005, he still hasn't been buried. When the state medical examiner's office misplaced a man's body and State Police went looking, they found it Friday in the grave where Sullivan was supposed to have been interred on April 26.

The man laid to rest that day was Thomas E. Brissette, a 49-year-old Cape Cod man whose disappearance led to the suspension of the state's chief medical examiner. Sullivan's body, it turned out, was still at the medical examiner 's office , and the funeral director handling his arrangements said yesterday he wants to complete the task.

Brissette found in Sullivan's grave

"I have a valid burial permit at the cemetery that says he's been buried," said the funeral director, Floyd A. Williams. "I want this issue to be closed. I want Mr. Sullivan buried and put to rest. . . . This has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous."

State Police also obtained a permit to dig up a second grave on Friday at St. Joseph's Cemetery in West Roxbury, but didn't do so because they found Brissette in Sullivan's grave, according to Williams and records released yesterday by the Boston Public Health Commission, which must approve such exhumations.

1957: Arson suspected in huge Cape Cod forest fire

On this day in 1957 Massachusetts Governor Foster Furculo issued a state of emergency because of a giant forest fire advancing towards Cape Cod.  The front page of the New York Times screamed this headline:

State of Emergency Ordered in Massachusetts--
Cape Cod Fire Uncontrolled
Woods in Seven States and Ontario Afire--
Dry Spell Is Near a Drought

Forest fires raged in seven Northeastern States and a province of Canada last night.  At least 30,000 acres of tinder-dry woodland was blackened.  Massachusetts declared a state of emergency and Maine imposed restrictions.

Then Massachusetts Governor Foster Furculo ordered 200 National Guardsmen, 200 state employees and convicts from state prison out to fight the fire.

The fire which started in the Miles Standish State Forest and quickly raced towards the canal and Cape Cod, was called "definitely arson" by the Plymouth Fire Chief. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on