Oak Bluffs Dive Team Descends on Submerged Car for Rescue Drill
Olivia Hull

A caravan-style car drove off the end of the Steamship Authority dock and was trapped underwater with four passengers inside.

This was the premise of a training scenario staged Sunday morning for the Oak Bluffs dive and rescue team.

“An elderly person had a medical event and they gunned it down the terminal,” said Oak Bluffs fire department acting chief John Rose, who conducted the dive team’s first car rescue drill.

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With New Station and Structure, Oak Bluffs Prepares to Revamp Fire Department
Olivia Hull
After more than a year of discussion, Oak Bluffs is poised to modernize its fire department by creating a new command structure.
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Oak Bluffs Increases Stipends for Volunteer Firefighters
Sara Brown
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.
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Trading Ladders for Flippers, Oak Bluffs Fire Department Dives In
Olivia Hull

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.

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Review Criticizes Oak Bluffs Fire Department Internal Practices
Olivia Hull

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.

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Tension Inside Oak Bluffs Fire Department Leads to Emergency Services Separation
James Kinsella

Tension Inside Oak Bluffs Fire Department Leads to Emergency Services Separation

By JAMES KINSELLA

Following mounting dissension in the Oak Bluffs fire department, the chairman of the board of selectmen moved this week to make the ambulance service a separate department.

Selectman and board chairman Gregory Coogan said he made a management decision Wednesday to split the two services, a move he said was long overdue.

"I think there are inherent problems in the two departments," Mr. Coogan said. "I think they have been at odds over time."

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Old Oak Bluffs Fire-Truck Gets New Home
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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Oak Bluffs Fire Department Wins Grant for New Vents

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.

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Firemen Decide to End Popular Summer Fireworks

The Oak Bluffs fireworks display, a cornerstone of Island summer every August, will be cancelled next year unless the town finds a way to continue the show, the selectmen said on Tuesday night.

Selectmen said the firemen’s association, which organizes and raises the money each year for the huge fireworks display over Ocean Park, had taken a vote on Sunday to discontinue the show next summer.

Selectman and board chairman Kathy Burton vowed that her board would “fix” the situation.

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Fire Chief Dispute Smoulders, As Administrator Field Narrows
Peter Brannen

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.

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