Today In Cape Cod History 1957 – Convicts Battle Blaze Headed Towards Cape Cod


CapeCodToday.comOn 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:

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.

Ah the good old days. Don’t have enough people to fight a fire? Send in the convicts! Imagine if you tried to do that today? The governor would be sued so fast his wallet would have to enter the witness protection program. It makes perfect sense though. If you are going to have a system that imprisons the most people per capita in the world, you might as well get some civil service out of them.

I say we start by having an entire crew of gentlemen from The Barnstable County House of Correction do all of the landscaping at Rep. Michael Costello’s house in Newburtyport. Then they can head back and finish out the day working at the oyster farm in Popponesett Bay right in front of Charles Clough’s house.

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