Falmouth Fire Department-Preservation of Archival Film

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Location: Falmouth Public Library
Applicant: Falmouth Fire Department
Grant: $1,400
Year/Article: November 2010, A34

In 2010, it had long been a concern of Fire Chief Glen Rogers that historic film and papers of personal history documenting the history of the Falmouth Fire Department were at risk of being lost from deterioration. At the time, the basement of the Fire Station held 28 reels (5500 feet) of super 8 film and brittle 8 mm nitrocellulose film from the 1940s and forward, as well as records and narratives of fire department history.

Fire Chief Rogers applied to and received from the CPFund $1200 to digitize these films and papers in DVD form to protect them and make them available for public viewing. When the project was completed in 2012, he distributed a set of the DVDs to the Falmouth Public Library, Falmouth Community TV and the Falmouth Historical Society.

Now protected and available to the public, these photographs, films and papers show and describe fire department actions with now retired equipment, including firefighting during the blizzard of 1954 and the burning of Sam Cahoon’s Ice House, the Johanson Estate on Woods Hole Road and the Megansett boat fire. They show local brush and marsh fires, a forest fire at the Otis range, the Plymouth forest fire, and the Coonamessett shed fire. They show fire protection issues and equipment of the day, like a four-wheel drive brush breaker and techniques of flammable liquid firefighting. They show the Falmouth equipment sent to Worcester after the 1956 tornado, fire fighting and civil defense training sessions, and parades, including the ca. 1958 Memorial Day Parade. Moreover, in the background are some of Falmouth’s historical buildings that no longer exist, like the Falmouth Recreation Building at Main Street and Falmouth Heights Road.

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