Edgartown firefighters responded to the Newes Pub Monday evening at 6 pm after smoke was reported behind a brick. Using thermal imagers, firefighters “identified heat from an unknown origin,” according to Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer.
“Concern was raised of a fire in the wall. With our knowledge of the balloon-frame
construction, a full department response was made along with a request for Oak
Bluffs ladder because ours is away for repairs and a lighting upgrade,” Schaeffer told The Times.
Upon further investigation, the fire was “believed to be an exterior fire with very localized damage,” Schaeffer noted. Firefighters removed four bricks to take a look inside the wall and found nothing amiss. The pub was then allowed to reopen. No injuries were reported.
Chief Schaeffer later told The Times it appeared the fire originated in a mulch bed outside the building, and firefighters wanted to ensure it had not traveled into the structure.
Fires in balloon-frame buildings can be especially challenging for firefighters, according to Fire Rescue Magazine, as the fire can migrate to wall spaces where it is hard to detect.
“When fighting a fire in balloon-frame construction, the company officer must always be a pessimist and assume that the fire has spread to the void spaces,” a report from the magazine states. “The first-in engine and truck must begin opening up the walls and ceiling in the area of origin as soon as the main body of the fire has been knocked down and the primary search is complete, so that they may conduct an aggressive search for hidden fire.”