Carelessly discarded cigarette caused Katama house fire


Updated: 5:45 pm, Friday

Edgartown fire Chief Peter Shemeth says a carelessly discarded cigarette is the likely cause of a fire that damaged a house at 93 Edgartown Bay Road, near the Katama boat landing, early Thursday morning.

The Dukes County communications center received a call from an alarm monitoring company of a triggered smoke alarm at 3:17 am. Edgartown alarm personnel and police responded.

The first police officer to arrive found smoke and flames at the rear of the building. He notified firefighters of a house fire in progress. All Edgartown trucks responded, and the Oak Bluffs fire department also brought a pumper truck.

Chief Shemeth said firefighters extinguished the blaze, but two rooms and the roof were damaged.

Mr. Shemeth said workmen were refinishing the floors in the house. A barrel of sawdust and wood had been left on the exterior deck of the house.

“Improper disposal of smoking materials,” likely a cigarette, appears to have caused the fire, the chief said.

Mr. Shemeth said the workmen left about 3:30 pm that afternoon. The fire probably smouldered for some time, the chief said, before it ignited. Eventually, the fire entered the house through the sliding doors and bay window.

Mr. Shemeth said the seasonal residence belongs to Lee and Elizabeth Guittar. Furniture had been removed and plastic sheets hung to limit the flow of dust during the construction work, and that helped reduce damage to the rest of the rooms.

Firefighters did not leave the house until after 5:30 am. Mr. Shemeth said West Tisbury firefighters covered the Edgartown station.

“We have a great mutual aid program,” he said.