Alert Oak Bluffs neighbor sounds house fire alarm


At approximately 2 pm Sunday afternoon, Oak Bluffs firefighters responded to a report of a house fire at 10 Doar Street off Eastville Avenue. They contained the blaze to the upper floor of the two-and-a-half story house.

Oak Bluffs assistant fire chief John Rose told The Times Monday the occupants were at home but unaware of the fire. The fire started behind the sheet rock in a wall on the upper floor of the house and did not immediately activate smoke detectors.

An alert neighbor, Wilz Moreis, saw smoke and flames coming from an attic vent. As his girlfriend called 911, he ran across the street to Robert Williston’s house. Mr. Williston is a lieutenant in the town’s volunteer fire department.

Mr. Williston said he and Moreis ran to the house and alerted owner Eric Skogstrom who was relaxing at home with visiting weekend guests.

Mr. Rose said flames were showing through the roof when firefighters arrived. “It took us about 30 to 35 minutes to completely extinguish it,” he said.

A team of Tisbury firefighters arrived to back up Oak Bluffs firefighters at the scene. The Edgartown Fire Department covered the station house in the event of another call.

Mr. Rose said damage was mostly confined to the top floor. “It was a good job,” he said. “A quick stop by all involved.”

In a telephone conversation Tuesday, Mr. Skogstrom, a contractor, praised the quick action and professionalism of the Oak Bluffs fire department. “They responded quickly and minimized the damage,” Mr. Skogstrom said.

Mr. Skogstrom said he and his guests, a husband and wife and their child, were at home and unaware of the fire and smoke shooting from his roof. He was watching a movie on his couch when Mr. Moreis and Mr. Williston ran into the house and told everyone to leave, that the house was on fire.

“I really appreciate the alertness of my neighbors,” Mr. Skogstrom said. He noted, “They had to jump a six-foot fence to get here.”

He said friends and members of the community were quick to call and offer assistance. “You don’t know what to expect until the chips are down,” he said. “A lot of people stepped up to the plate.”

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.