The Martha's Vineyard vacation home of President Barack Obama and his family during the summers of 2009 and 2010 caught fire in the early morning hours today.
Obama is expected to vacation there once again next week, as an advance team of Secret Service Agents are camped out on the Island and the White House Press Corps. has in Vineyard Haven—a sure sign to Islanders their famous guest will be arriving soon.
At approximately 3:31 a.m. today, members of the Chilmark Police Department, Chilmark Fire Department, Tri-Town Ambulance and West Tisbury Fire Department responded to a report from an alarm company of a fire at the Blue Heron Farm, located at 41 Cobb’s Hill in Chilmark.
Chief Brian A Cioffi of the Chilmark Police Department said the fire occurred on the first floor of the five-bedroom main house of the 28.5 acre Blue Heron Farm estate at Tiah's Cove.
The fire was mostly extinguished when first responders arrived.
A joint investigation by the Chilmark Police Department and the Chilmark Fire Department determined that the cause of the fire was an outdoor cooking grill that was left on overnight. The heat of the grill ignited the side of the residence. The building sustained minor, exterior damage.
The residence was rented at the time. All occupants were able to evacuate safely and without incident.
The vast estate, which spans the border between Chilmark and West Tisbury, is owned by William and Mollie Van Devender of Jackson, Miss.
Obama reportedly paid $50,000 per week to rent the property in 2009.