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MUTUAL AID TO NANTUCKET!
"April Fools Day 2007"
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Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire Department Brush Breaker 316 comes off the
Steamship Authority vessel "Eagle" on Nantucket Island at approximately 1700 hours
on April 1, 2007. Believed to be the "first ever" mutual aid response to Nantucket from
the Cape, 4 pieces of apparatus responded via the 2 hour ferry ride to the island to assist
Nantucket fire fighters battling a large brush fire in the middle of the island.
The fire began shortly after 1000 hours as a controlled burn in island conservation land.
Winds and dry conditions however led to the fire quickly getting out of control and
threatening to burn a large area of conservation land and potentially get into homes beyond.
The west wind took the fire through primarily scrub oaks and other brush blackening
approximately 30 acres.
NANTUCKET INQUIRER & MIRROR NEWS STORY
Cape Cod Times Story
The smoke plume could easily be seen from the Cape,
approximately 25 miles across
Nantucket Sound by noon time. Soon after, Nantucket sought assistance from
Barnstable County Control. COMM Fire Chief John Farrington and Sandwich
Fire Chief George Russell responded to the airport according to a pre-planned
mutual aid agreement with the island and flew via airplane to the island as Liaison
Officers to determine how Barnstable County could help. The commuter plane,
with other passengers on board, circled the fire a couple times so the chiefs could get
a good look before landing at Nantucket Airport.
Boarding the "Eagle" in Hyannis
Breaker 316 with 1000 gallons of water on board
COMM, Hyannis, Cotuit, and Yarmouth apparatus on ferry.
First in - first out
"We're going to Nantucket!"
"I've never been to Nantucket before...."
The call came back to the Cape to send two pumpers and two brush breakers with crews
to Hyannis to catch the 1430 hrs ferry to Nantucket. Hyannis Engine 826,
Yarmouth Engine 47, COMM Breaker 316, and Cotuit Breaker 267 arrived and
boarded the ferry "Eagle" for the two hour ride.
Leaving Hyannis harbor
Some brown smoke still visible on the horizon about 3/4 of way across
Smoke could be seen over the horizon as the ferry left
As the ferry approached Nantucket at about 1645 hours however, the smoke
had gone down considerably. The fire had been contained, although not fully
extinguished. Since the ferry would make it's last trip of the day to Hyannis
once apparatus and other vehicle debarked, it was decided that the Hyannis
and Yarmouth engines would no longer be needed on the island. They were
told to reboard the ferry and return back to the Cape.
Seals welcomed us on the Nantucket breakwater
Welcome to Nantucket
First time on Nantucket
Cotuit Breaker 267
The dirt road that brought us out to where the fire started. A private water tanker is coming out for more water.
On the hill is a crash truck from "ACK" (Nantucket Airport) and the mast for the command post with a
high power camera on it to observe the area.
All island fire equipment including that of the airport assisted in controlling the fire
Chief Farrington and Chief Russell
The two brush breakers were given a police escort across
the island to
the conservation land and up to the command post established on a hill
overlooking the charred woods. The Nantucket County communications
and command truck was on post as were other fire, police, airport,
and support crews.
Nearly all of the fire apparatus on the island had been
committed to battling this
fire for over six hours by now and had done a nice job containing it without
any injuries or major damage.
Nantucket Fire Dept
View from the cab of 316 as we made our way "through" some of the thick scrub oaks and brush
Nantucket Engine 2 on the north side of the fire in a pasture where the fire was stopped.
The two brush breakers proceeded into the fire area, and
able to gain access
to areas not accessible by foot, were able to wet down and fully extinguish
the remaining hot spots preventing the fire from re-kindling.
By dark, the fire was out and crews were picking up.
The brush breaker crews (minus their drivers) were shuttled to the
Nantucket Airport and boarded a commuter plane back to the
Cape at about 2130 hours. The two breakers and one chief remained
on the island until the next morning when they came back via the ferry.
This was a historical fire and a unique situation.
The first mutual aid to the island that we are aware of.
Interestingly, the mutual aid system had been used heavily
night with a third alarm structure fire in Dennis and the massive general alarm
fire at the SEMASS trash incinerator in Rochester.
Photos Britt Crosby 2007