Thursday, 4:30 PM
Smoking ban may have saved drowning man on Vineyard
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff, and Amanda I Bergeron, Globe Correspondent
Smoking may have actually saved someone's life who was drowning in icy water on Martha's Vineyard.
Leonard Fogg slipped and fell into Edgartown Harbor Sunday afternoon and told police he was screaming for up to 15 minutes before being saved by a man who had stepped outside the Wharf Pub for a quick cigarette.
"If we didn't have the smoking ban, that guy would be dead," said Edgartown police Detective Craig Edwards today in a telephone interview.
Edgartown, like the rest of Massachusetts, doesn't allow smoking inside bars and restaurants. That law has made Peter T. Robb a fixture outside the Wharf Pub, where he can often be seen smoking a cigarette while reading the sports section of a newspaper.
On Sunday afternoon, Robb was outside at his post with a cigarette and the sports pages when he heard the furious barks of a dog, according to an Edgartown police report. Robb listened closer and heard what he thought was the screams of a man coming from dock near the Junior Yacht Club.
Robb ran to the shore and discovered Fogg, who had been looking at a boat for sale when he slipped off the dock, hit his head, and fell into the frigid water. Fogg’s dog, a Bouvier des Flanders named Maui, continued to bark at the shore.
Robb threw off his jacket and pulled Fogg out of the water, according the report. He covered Fogg with his jacket and ran back to the pub to call 911.
Instead of waiting for an ambulance, Robb organized a contingent from the pub to run down to the harbor and carry Fogg back to the bar. When an ambulance arrived, Fogg had been stripped of his cold, wet clothes and wrapped in blankets. He was taken to Martha Vineyard Hospital, treated for hypothermia, and released later that day.
"His faithful dog 'Maui' was picked up by the [Edgartown Animal Control Officer] until family could retrieve him," the police report said.