Busy holiday weekend for Edgartown, Oak Bluffs first responders

There were multiple fires and several arrests, but some areas of the Island were pleasantly quiet.

Mallory and Len Butler rode the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse float in the Aquinnah South Road parade. Len was named Grand Marshal for his successful efforts to save the lighthouse. — Photo by Lisa Vanderhoop

The Fourth of July weekend proved to be a very busy time on Martha’s Vineyard. Lured by forecasts of good weather and a Saturday holiday, thousands of visitors arrived on the Island. Although there were no serious incidents, the increase in activity kept Island public safety officials hopping.

Fire sirens punctuated the weekend. A car fire, a restaurant fire, and two brush fires, as well as the usual menu of false alarms, kept firefighters running around the Island.

Edgartown Police Officer James Craig said the town had a record number of people attending the parade and fireworks. Police from every Island town lent a hand to help Edgartown police the activities.

Three individuals were arrested for disorderly conduct; two were taken into protective custody; and police responded to four noise complaints. Police made two arrests Saturday night for drivers operating under the influence of alcohol, neither of which resulted in accidents or injuries. There was a report of two overdue/missing persons. The pair of 16-year-olds were both found, and there was no further cause for alarm. There were six medical assists and one domestic complaint.

Edgartown firefighters were kept busy all weekend. On Saturday, they responded to a fire at the Atlantic restaurant in downtown Edgartown that reportedly started in a kitchen exhaust fan.

Firefighters also responded to a small brush fire at South Beach Friday caused by illegal fireworks being set off. The person responsible was not found.

Oak Bluffs police made four arrests over the weekend. Police arrested one man for assault and battery, and acted on two outstanding warrants. An intoxicated man was arrested for stealing a dinghy in the harbor. He was charged with larceny over $250.

Oak Bluffs firefighters also rushed to a car fire Friday afternoon by Big Bridge that sent thick clouds of black smoke billowing into the air and destroyed a 1996 Jeep Cherokee. There were no injuries.

“It was a challenge for us to get here,” Oak Bluffs Fire Chief John Rose said on the scene Friday. “People not yielding to emergency vehicles made it tough to get here.”

Norton Point Beach was closed off Friday and again on Sunday to over-sand vehicles to avoid overcrowding. The two-mile-long barrier beach connects Katama to Chappaquiddick, and is popular with families and fishermen, and nesting shorebirds.

Chris Kennedy, The Trustees of Reservations Martha’s Vineyard superintendent, estimated that 280 vehicles were on the beach prior to the closure.

Aquinnah Police Chief Randhi Belain said it was a pretty typical weekend with nothing out of the ordinary. There was one arrest for a domestic assault and battery on Saturday, and police responded to a bonfire at Red Beach on Saturday night. The parties were cooperative, and the fire was extinguished.

Chief Belain said there was a good turnout for the children’s parade on Old South Road. There were no issues, but he said it was busy with traffic. Beach lots filled up on Saturday and Sunday.

Police Chief Daniel Rossi said it seemed like a regular summer weekend in West Tisbury. There were some fireworks seized at Lambert’s Cove Beach, two noise complaints, and “quite a few motor vehicle stops and traffic enforcement.” He said the Fourth of July has been manageable in West Tisbury the past few years.

Tisbury Police Lieut. Eerik Meisner also said it was a quiet weekend. Police placed two people in protective custody for being drunk in public and “stumbling around.” Lieutenant Meisner said the necessity for police response on the holiday ranges from year to year, and this year happened to be “fairly sedate.”

Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi had nothing to report. He said the weekend was “pleasantly quiet.”