March 10, 2011

House, barn in Athens destroyed by fire

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

ATHENS -- A heating lamp for farm animals is thought to be the cause of a fire that destroyed a house and barn on the Brighton Road early Wednesday morning.

click image to enlarge

REMAINS: Smoke rises from the remains of a home and barn on the Brighton Road in Athens that was destroyed by fire early Wednesday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Athens Fire Chief Jamie Stafford said a domestic pig was lost in the blaze that burned both buildings to the ground. Another pig and a horse were saved, he said.

"When we got there the barn was already totally engulfed -- I mean it went up quick," Stafford said of the blaze, reported just after midnight, two miles from Athens village.

Stafford said the fire spread to the nearby house.

"The center part of the house fell right in completely -- we had to rip the roof off to get to a bunch of hot spots," he said.

No one was injured.

Stafford said the home is owned by Wes Rowlins, whose daughter lives in a nearby home that was not damaged.

Fire crews from Athens, East Madison, Harmony and Cornville assisted at the scene, as did a tanker from Wellington. Crews were on the scene until just after 7 a.m., and returned at 8 a.m. to hit rekindled hot spots.

Water was shuttled by tanker truck from the pellet mill on state Route 150, where there are fire hydrants, Stafford said.

"All the other towns did a wonderful job assisting us with this," he said. "The town of Athens appreciates it and the guys at the pellet mill helped us a lot."

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