Fire heavily damages Oak Bluffs house

Oak Bluffs firefighters arrived to find the newly renovated house fully involved. — Photo by Robert Gatchell

Fire all but destroyed an unoccupied house under renovation at 79 Linton Avenue in Oak Bluffs Saturday evening.

Oak Bluffs firefighters responded to a call of a fully involved house fire about 7 pm. When the first fire truck arrived, flames leapt into the air and the first floor was engulfed in flames, Oak Bluffs fire Chief Peter Forend told The Times.

“The whole house is gone,” Chief Forend said.

The office of the State Fire Marshall will investigate the cause. Asked if there was anything to indicate the fire was of suspicious origin, Chief Forend said, “Not necessarily at this time, but there are some questions that we have.”

Mr. Forend said it is common practice to ask for state assistance when a fire results in high dollar value damage. The house is owned by Maurice “Mo” O’Connor and Beth Blankenship.

At first, firefighters thought a workman might be in the basement of the unoccupied house. A search effort ended after the homeowners confirmed that no worker was in the building, assistant fire chief John Rose told The Times, in a telephone conversation Sunday morning.

Mr. Rose said it took about an hour and a half to control the fire. The first floor was completely gutted, and there was considerable damage to the second floor, he said.

Edgartown and Tisbury firefighters assisted. “Their help was well appreciated,” Mr. Rose said.

Police detoured traffic around the scene of the fire near County Road.