ATHENS — A two-story home on School Street was damaged extensively in a fire Wednesday morning, according to a fire official.

The home at 17 School St. belongs to Dan and Angelia Michaud, who were not home when the fire started shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. A nearby business, Polar Bear Oil, reported the fire by telephone around 9:30 a.m.

The fire is believed to have started on the first story of the house between the kitchen and the living room, but the cause is unknown, Athens Fire Chief Travis Thompson said. He said the Office of State Fire Marshal will be investigating.

The Michauds, who were at the nearby Athens Corner Store on Wednesday morning while firefighters were on scene, said they did not know how or why the fire started.

“All I know is we don’t have a home,” said Angelia Michaud, who said she was at a gymnasium Wednesday morning when the fire started.

Dan Michaud, who works for the Maine Department of Transportation in Athens, said his boss, who also volunteers for the Fire Department, notified him at work.

The home’s exterior was still standing late Wednesday morning, but the interior damage was extensive, Thompson said.

“There were a lot of timbers that were burned and a lot of smoke damage,” he said.

The fire spread to the home’s second floor and into insulation in the attic, Thompson said. Firefighters at the scene pulled large amounts of wood and charred insulation out of the attic in their efforts to extinguish the flames.

“It was a pretty stubborn fire. We knocked it down once, but it flared back up,” Thompson said. Firefighters were at the scene for about three hours.

No injuries were reported, Thompson said. The family has two dogs and a gerbil that firefighters brought out safely.

The Michauds said their home is insured and that they will be staying with relatives.

Firefighters from Athens, Cornville, Madison and Skowhegan went to the scene.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368 rohm@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @rachel_ohm