The Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday unanimously approved increased annual stipends for the fire department.
When requesting the increase, acting fire chief John Rose said the new stipends are more comparable to the pay scale in other towns.
Traci Monteith is afraid of heights but she loves depths. She’s been diving in Vineyard waters for more than 10 years, but only recently has she been working toward certification as an advanced diver on the Oak Bluffs fire department dive team. On a recent Thursday evening, she wet-suited up alongside two other members of the team for their first night dive.
An independent review of the Oak Bluffs fire department turned up a series of needed improvements, including better record keeping, clearer policies and procedures and improved communication between town and fire authorities.
The Oak Bluffs fire department received a $65,500 grant this week through the Department of Homeland Security to install a new ventilation system at the fire station that will remove toxic diesel exhaust from emergency vehicles inside the station.
Oak Bluffs fire chief Gilbert (Peter) Forest said the funding will be used to install the much-needed system. The grant was secured through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters program with the assistance of U.S. Sens. Edward (Ted) Kennedy and John F. Kerry and Rep. William Delahunt.
The little red 80-year-old Maxim Oak Bluffs fire-truck shines in its new home, a little fire-station off Wing Road. The newly shingled barn and museum is appropriately placed across from the much larger Nelson W. Amaral Fire Station.
Donations in the amount of $90,000 helped to house the truck, and now after a year of effort and fund-raising, they’ve run out of money.
A year after his court-ordered reinstatement as fire investigator in Oak Bluffs, Peter Martell says the town is not honoring his position. Last June a Dukes County superior court judge found that Oak Bluffs fire chief Peter Forend had no legal or justifiable reason for dismissing Mr. Martell. In May a Dukes County superior court judge ordered the town to pay some $35,700 in attorney’s fees.
But Mr. Martell said the fire department has not made good on his reinstatement.
The cause of a Saturday night house fire in Oak Bluffs is still unknown this week but Oak Bluffs fire chief Pete Forend said on Thursday that there was no indication that foul play was involved.
Chief Forend said that about 40 Edgartown, Tisbury and Oak Bluffs firefighters responded to the 79 Linton avenue home of Maurice O’Connor and Beth Blankenship at 7:30 p.m. last Saturday. They took just over an hour to get the fire under control, staying until 11:30 p.m. to fight the blaze. No one was hurt.