PITA NewsLetter

Sponsored by the Plum Island Taxpayers & Associates, Inc. 2016

Bringing Plum Island TogetherNewsletter_files/PITA%20Newsletter%20August%202012.pdf
Plum Island is vulnerable to fires; here’s what you can do about it.

The recent unfortunate loss of homes due to devastating fires on Plum Island brings a new awareness of the vulnerabilities of living on Plum Island: constant wind, dryness due to ongoing drought, narrow streets, seasonal traffic congestion, and more.  Here are some reasons why it's a problem and what we can do about it. 

During the 20th Street fire on Aug. 27, emergency fire and ambulance crews from nine communities blocked all traffic from entering or leaving the island for over four hours. The entire north end of the island was impassable and inaccessible to any kind of emergency response, fire or ambulance, for the duration of those four plus hours.   

During that time, there was an emergency call for an ambulance for a double near-drowning at the Point, the northern end of the beach.  Only because an ambulance (a first responder) happened to already be on the northern side of the fire, were rescuers able to get to the location of the near-drowning. 

This is IMPORTANT: Firefighters and emergency responders must be able to simultaneously reach more than one location on the island. 

So we must recognize the challenges at hand: 

Larger homes. The original camp and cottages of yesteryear continue to be replaced by much larger year-round homes. 

Narrow streets. The streets seem to be getting narrower, in part, because homeowners use their small house lots for parking and landscaping (understandably so). 

Larger vehicles. Further, city vehicles and town fire trucks may be increasing in size. 

The wind.  For residents, there's no need to mention this, but during that Aug. 27 fire, the wind was blowing a light easterly, away from the scene directly out over the Basin.  Had the wind been blowing off the Basin and toward the homes, where the strong northwesterlies come in,  the results would have been devastating. Even with a favorable wind, it took a couple dozen neighbors training garden hoses on burning brush and digging improvised fire breaks in the sand to keep the blaze from spreading to nearby homes.         

So what can we all do about this? 

First, write to the town of Newbury and city of Newburyport and list the items below, and add your own ideas if you like. 

     Town administrator
    Newbury Municipal Offices
    12 Kent Way, Suite 200
    Byfield, MA 01922
    465-0862 ext.301

    Mayor Donna Holiday
    City of Newburyport, 
    60 Pleasant Street
    Newburyport, MA 01950

These are just a few thoughts that came to mind.There must be others, so let’s begin the conversation. 

Maintain Northern Boulevard at the greatest width possible by pushing back sand.
Determine the accessibility of fire apparatus to every island home and neighborhood. 
The fire department should make test runs to every residential street on the island to ensure they can navigate the narrow streets, which usually have 10-foot right of ways.   
Evaluate "paper" streets.  Several paper streets should be evaluated. Put down gravel and make them accessible  for emergency vehicles. 
Develop an emergency traffic plan. A plan should be developed and in place to address traffic congestion during emergencies 
Of life-threatening importance:  Emergency vehicles must have access at all times (no matter what other dire emergency is being dealt with). 
Construction of a public safety facility on Plum Island. Replace the former fire station on the north point of the island.  There has been discussion of re-placing the former fire station on the north point of the island. Let's encourage our community leaders to make that happen sooner rather than later. 
Alert Island residents during emergencies with a comprehensive communication plan.  Residents could sign up to be notified via Facebook or Twitter on electronic devices of emergencies at hand, with instructions as to how proceed. 
And also, please, when you see these residents say Thank You to the following individuals for their herculean efforts fighting the 20th Street fire, until the professional from Newbury Fire Department arrived.

Steve Darcy – Mike O’Hara – Cheryl Mahoney – Chuck Ross – Dave Matfubara – Paul Novak – Gene Novak and sorry for any that we missed.

Lastly, we should all be mindful of good housekeeping, ensure your smoke/CO detectors are in good working order, and keep a large fire extinguisher handy.

What do you think?  We can continue talking about this on our Web site or Facebook page . 
Let's get together and get this done over the winter! 

NOTE: this story based on a letter given to PITA by Gene Novak.
Past Newsletter Issues
PITA Newsletter July 2015.pdf  
PITA Newsletter April 2015 6page.pdf  
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Inside This Issue

  1. -Plum Island is Vulnerable during Fires; here’s what you can do about it. And a big thank you to PI Residents who helped during recent fires

  2. -PITA Membership drive, please renew

  3. -christmas Fair Dec 3rd, celebrates 22nd year - calling all Crafters!

  4. - PI beautification meetings 7pm PITA hall- 1st tuesday


  1. Web Site at plumislandtaxpayers.org

  2. Rent PITA Hall inexpensively as a Member

  3. Find PITA now on FaceBook -- Contribute photos, comments and listen to PitaTwita for local up to date happenings.

Renew PITA Membership for 2017 Annual Membership  Drive

$20/year individual membership

$30/year family membership

If you have not already done so, please renew your membership now and support PITA.

Send dues and donations to PITA  at 8 Plum Island Blvd.  Newbury, MA 01951

Or, Contact Susan at sailpi@comcast.net

PITA Christmas Fair Dec. 3, celebrates 22nd year

You can pick out your tree, do some early shopping and have your kids deliver their lists to Santa, all at our 22nd annual Plum Island Christmas Fair.

The fair is Saturday, Dec. 3, at Plum Island Hall, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Santa returning by fire truck for his annual visit about 2 p.m.

Once again, we'll be selling premium trees, with free delivery on the Island. Crafters and artists from Plum Island and vicinity will offer handmade gifts, stocking stuffers and holiday decorations.  

There will also be raffle prizes, refreshments and lunch specials, including hot dogs, hamburgers, homemade haddock chowder and Diane Barrett's famous chili. 

The event is one of PITA's major annual fundraisers. All proceeds go to help maintain the Hall as a gathering spot for Island residents and support other PITA efforts, including surveying and marking public rights-of-way.So save the date and come celebrate the season with your PI neighbors.  Vendors interested in reserving a table , please see Calling all Crafters below.

Calling All Crafters!

It's that time of year again! The annual PITA Christmas Fair is scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd, and PITA is reminding all crafters who have participated at previous PITA fairs to be on the lookout for this year's application form.

If you would like to participate as a vendor and haven't received an application form yet, please email or call Frank Pierce right away at fpierce1@comcast.net, or leave us a message with your name and contact information at 978 463-0670.

Plum Island Fire on August 27th this year. (reprinted with permission, Daily News)