Incident Name: Massachusetts Military Reservation
Personnel: 3 lives lost
Thomas E. Adams, 42, volunteer firefighter from Sandwich, died 4/29/38
Ervin Draber, 35, forestry worker, died 4/30/38
Gordon King, 32, volunteer, died 6/10/38
On 4/28/1938 firefighters were fighting fire on the edge of the Shawme State Forest at Forestdale Road. A shift in wind caused by heat from the fire's head caused the backfire to entrap four of them. They tried to escape and were badly burned. Adams, Draber and King died later.
pin in Shawme-Crowell State Forest
pin in the Forestdale Rd (Rt 130) near the military base
"Fighting the blaze on the edge of the Shawme State Forest on the edge of the Forestdale Road, the men were building a back fire when a shift in the wind caused by heat from the head blaze created a blazing circle that engulfed the quartet. Gibbs, Adams and Draber fell prone to the ground and attempted to crawl to the nearest haven — a dirt road running through Shawme Forest and constructed by the CCC workers. Fire shooting through dry brush enveloped the men igniting their clothes and burning their bodies." (from the New Bedford Standard Times, Cape Cod Edition, published 4/28/38)
Memorial Honors Three Killed in '38 Fire
July 7, 2008 | pay per view article
SANDWICH - The giant boulder, a copper plaque and colorful flags hint at something important. But with no sidewalk, no parking and the pace of passing cars on Route 130 (Forestdale Road) just south of Exit 2, the memorial is mostly a blur. On closer inspection, the plaque is a memorial to three fallen firefighters - Thomas E. Adams, Ervin Draber and Gordon King - lost 70 years ago in a forest fire that ravaged 5,000 acres on the Massachusetts Military Reservation...
Contributors to this article: PA Fire Warden
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