Airport terminal fire damages exterior wall and roof


No one was injured during a small fire at Martha’s Vineyard Airport on Friday morning.

Island emergency responders rushed to the airport, arriving around 10:30 am, after a call came in about a fire on the airport terminal roof, West Tisbury Sgt. Garrison Vieira told The Times. 

At least a dozen emergency vehicles were on the scene, staged at the field in front of Airport Fitness and Vineyard Decorators, including State Police, along with first responders from all Island towns.

West Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Pachico said the fire started on the outside of the terminal and climbed up the corner of the building. “It did make entry a little bit by getting inside one of the eves. We were able to catch it pretty quickly. It did break that one top window that you can see,” Pachico said. “We were worried about the fire extending into the building, because it’s all open trusses inside there. It did get inside the hallway between the sheetrock and the studs — we’ll have to tear that all apart.” 

No major structural damage has been identified yet. Pachico said the damage is almost entirely cosmetic. The terminal building was evacuated right away, as it was entirely filled with smoke. “That’s our problem right now, it’s going to take a while to clear all the smoke out,” Pachico said.

For first responders, a fire at the airport is a big call that involves mutual aid response from available units from all Island towns. Upon arriving at the scene, police and fire rescue from Tisbury and Edgartown began staging reserve units and blocking off the teardrop road that leads to the airport terminal. The scene was mostly cleared by 1 pm, as firefighters made their last checks in the terminal to make sure they could reopen it to travelers and workers. 

Although the investigation into what caused the fire is ongoing, Pachico said a discarded cigarette is most likely the culprit. 

“There’s really nothing else out there we could think of that would have caused it, but we are looking into it,” Pachico said.

In a phone conversation with The Times, Bob Rosenbaum, chair of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission, commended the job done by the airport firefighting rescue team, who arrived first on the scene, along with all the other responding personnel, for their role in snuffing the fire quickly before it spread.


  1. More like who throws away a lit cigarette, cigar, and or marijuana. I thought all of the above go out by themselves, if not continued to be smoked. I believe in freedoms if you want to smoke, you should smoke, but please put them out first and discard in the correct place not in the bushes.

    • More like do people who think that cigarettes, cigars, and or marijuana go out by themselves actually think?
      I believe that that the government should stay out of how we smoke, and discard.

    • Cigarettes are designed to keep burning once lit unlike cigars and weed. This is why so many people have died after falling asleep with a lit cigarette. Big tobacco makes more money when your smoke burns down without you smoking it, then you light up another, who cares how many die as a result?

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