Firefighters stop smoldering chair from spreading fire

A West Tisbury firefighter soaks a piece of fireplace wood in an effort to lessen smoke at an Arrowhead Farm fire scene Wednesday night. — Rich Saltzberg

West Tisbury firefighters stopped a small electrical fire that threatened to become a house fire, Wednesday night at Arrowhead Farm.

Firefighters were called to a house at the farm at around 8:20 pm based on a report of second-floor smoke. Caretakers suspected a lit fireplace, West Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Pachico said. Chief Pachico decided to call for a first alarm structure fire out of an abundance of caution, mustering Tisbury, Edgartown, and Chilmark firefighters. A fireplace or chimney fire didn’t entirely make sense, as light smoke was descending from the second story of the house, Chief Pachico said. Firefighters struggled to identify the source of the smoke as they explored the house. 

Tisbury firefighters stood watch at West Tisbury stations, and Edgartown and Chilmark firefighters were called off as Chief Pachico and his crews worked to solve the smoke mystery. A choice was made to completely extinguish the fireplace. Firefighters went so far as to hose down small pieces of wood outside the house in an effort to eliminate fireplace smoke. The remaining smoke in the house, Chief Pachico said, didn’t smell like wood smoke.

Firefighters examined the fusebox, and found the fuses were allegedly unsuited to properly trigger in the event of an electrical incident, Chief Pachico said. Firefighters then re-examined rooms throughout the house, and paid close attention to one room that had a space heater. The space heater was off, Chief Pachico said, but after a closer evaluation, firefighters found it was plugged into an extension cord. That cord was under a rug, and also under an upholstered chair. Firefighters peeled back the rug and moved the chair, and discovered the end of the extension cord was melted, and had burned into the floor, and also found the chair was smoldering. Chief Pachico said caretakers made the right call notifying the fire department.

“If nothing was done, then we would have had a totally different event in a few hours,” he said.

Chief Pachico praised the investigatory work of his firefighters. “They did a great job,” he said.

He thanked the Tisbury, Edgartown, and Chilmark fire departments for their mutual aid readiness. 

Chief Pachico said extension cords often produce heat, and should never be put under a rug, and should never be used with any sort of appliance.


  1. omg…. God Bless… this could’ve been tragic….. Great job on the fire dept…. heroes…. thanks so much for saving this familys home and lives…. 🙂 our mv fire dept and ems and police are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. “Chief Pachico said extension cords often produce heat and should never be put under a rug and should never be used with any sort of appliance.“

    This is a most important piece of information. Perhaps it should be the lead in a follow up article.

  3. I would love to see a piece by Chief Pachico on more of these little-known hazards. After this near miss, and the earlier incident of the mirror in the outdoor shower setting the wall a-smoulder, I feel there’s much more to know about living in our shingle houses that can ignite like a torch.

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