Oak Bluffs and Tisbury firefighters responded to a call of a fully involved house fire just before 9 pm, Tuesday night on Border Road, off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Tisbury. The narrow dirt road parallels the Tisbury-Oak Bluffs town line and combined with the heat and humidity created difficult conditions for the more than 40 firefighters who battled the blaze.
The fire destroyed a large accessory building fire officials said was used as a living quarters. Firefighters were able to save the main house which suffered exterior scorching but no interior damage, Oak Bluffs Fire Chief John Rose said.
No occupants were in either building at the time of the blaze and fire officials said they did not yet know the identity of the owner or the possible cause. A small dog in the main house was removed in good shape.
One firefighter was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for observation. There was no report on his condition.
According to a witness renting the home next door, flames erupted out of the wooden frame house, one lot back from the Lagoon, about 8:45 pm.
“I could hear popping, like fireworks, and assumed that was what it was,” Jan Rosenfeld, of Manhattan Beach, California, told The Times. “I went outside to investigate. I saw huge flames through the bushes and the house in front of me. The whole thing was on fire.”
Ms. Rosenfeld said that within minutes, the house was engulfed. And almost as quickly, she heard sirens.
The firefighters had the fire under control within 15 minutes, she said.
Initially, a homeowner on the Oak Bluffs side of Lagoon Pond saw the flames and reported the fire as in Oak Bluffs. Fire Chief Rose said that after he heard the initial call and the location he asked that Tisbury also respond.
The first trucks had to navigate a narrow dirt road to reach the house set back in the woods. Hose lines ran for more than 1,600 feet from Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road to the front lines of the blaze.
“It was a long way in to get water,” Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling said. “The fire was rolling on to the main structure when we got here. The guys did a good job.”
As firefighters continued to hose down the charred remains of the building the Island fire chiefs praised the cooperative effort and the turnout. Chief Schilling said the exact location did not matter.
“It’s great, the support that each town gives the other when we have a major event like this,” Chief Rose said, as he stood perspiring in the heat. “And it’s not just Oak Bluffs and Tisbury. Edgartown is covering Oak Bluffs right now because all my apparatus is tied up.”
“It was a tough location,” Chief Rose said.
West Tisbury firefighters also backed up Tisbury.
Police closed off Edgartown-Vineyard haven Road for more than one hour.