Tisbury fire chief questions Verizon over storage yard fire

Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling explained to a Global Industrial Services foreman that a fire that broke out Sunday morning was not restricted to trash. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

Tisbury firefighters turned out about 11 am, Sunday to extinguish a fire that erupted in a pile of brush, fence timbers, and debris located in a storage area behind the Verizon building off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

It appeared that someone had intentionally piled the debris to burn it. With winds gusting past 30 mph, it was no day to be burning anything outdoors. Quick work by firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to nearby pines and woods and contained it in the Verizon work yard.

A visibly irritated Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling said flames were leaping 10 to 15 feet high when he arrived. “This could have been much, much worse,” Mr. Schilling said.

Simonio Cordeiro Albino, an employee for Global Industrial Services (GIS), a Verizon cleaning company subcontractor, told police through a Portuguese interpreter that when he arrived to take out the trash he saw the debris smoldering and he attempted to put it out with a bucket of water.

Chief Schilling contacted a GIS foreman who said he understood it was burning trash. In strong terms, Mr. Schilling explained it was not trash. “We were moments away from a conflagration,” he told the man on the other end of the phone line. Mr. Schilling insisted that a company representative meet with him to discuss the fire

Mr. Schilling told The Times the burn season ended on May 1 and there was no permit issued. “This was done without any forethought for the safety of anybody in the immediate area,” he said.