Firefighters stop Sunday brushfire in nick of time
Edgartown firefighters doused two brush fires Sunday. The first was a relatively small blaze. The second fire was more significant and was brought under control with assistance from the West Tisbury and Oak Bluffs fire departments.
For many people, it was a day off from work to enjoy summer-like temperatures. For individual members of Martha's Vineyard's volunteer fire departments, it was a day interrupted.
"It seemed to be one thing after another," said Edgartown fire chief Peter Shemeth. The day began with several automatic alarm calls. "Fortunately, they were all false alarms but we still have to go and check them out," said Mr. Shemeth.
About 1 pm Edgartown received a call about a transformer fire on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road near Third Street. Normally, when there is a malfunction, a fuse in the transformer separates, breaking the circuit. However in this case the fuse continued to burn and showered leaves on the ground with hot particles that sparked a brushfire.
Firefighters responded and put out the fire before it could spread to nearby houses. While a crew remained to deal with remaining hot spots, the other firefighters returned to the station.
The resulting power outage lasted about 25 minutes and affected 8,000 customers, according to NStar spokesman Michael Durand.
A false alarm from a house near Eel Pond interrupted the afternoon. Later that day, the communications center alerted West Tisbury firefighters to a report of the smell of smoke.
Initially, there was some thought that the smoke might have been caused by a controlled burn. West Tisbury fire chief Manuel Estrella went to the site and determined that fire was out. As more calls came in a search began for the source.
Joe Loughrey, a seasonal resident who lives in the Boldwater subdivision, walked out his door to go for a walk. He decided it was a beautiful day and to take a longer walk. He returned to his house to get a water container.
"As I went out he second time I looked to my left and I saw smoke," he said. He walked a little closer towards the smoke and saw fire through the trees.