WEST ATHENS — A family of five was left homeless Thursday morning after a fast-moving fire destroyed their two-story, wooden-frame house on the Valley Road.

Dwayne and Mary Brown and their sons, Sean, 19, and Nick, 12, and daughter Cassie, 20, lost everything they owned, including Dwayne’s gun collection and three of the family’s four dogs.

They were not insured. No one was injured.

Fire officials said the blaze appeared to have started in the kitchen and quickly spread, consuming the house that sat just across the road from the gravel-pit site of the annual West Athens Fourth of July parade and play.

“My whole family lived here,” Dwayne Brown said from the scene. “I had thousands of dollars worth of stuff; 40 guns, all my carpentry tools, you name it. I’m 45 years old — everything I’ve owned is in that house.”

A dump truck parked next to the house also appeared to have been destroyed.

Mary Brown said she was taking her son Sean to work at the Skowhegan Walmart, where she also works, when she got a cellphone call about the fire. She said no one was home when the fire broke out.

Malcomb Prosser, safety officer for the Athens Fire Department, and his wife, Maria, will put the family up in their nearby camp until they can be resettled. The American Red Cross also has offered assistance.

A donation jar has been set up at the Athens Corner Store to assist the family.

Prosser said he was working nearby on Chapman Ridge Road and was among the first on the scene.

“It was pretty much fully involved, right in the kitchen,” he said. “We have no idea how it started. We were here maybe five minutes when all of his ammunition for his guns started going off.”

Athens Fire Chief Jamie Stafford said there will be no official cause of the fire because of the extent of damage to the home. He said there was some question as to the location of the fire from the communications center during early tones alerting area fire departments to the blaze, which was reported at 9:41 a.m.

He said that had no impact on response time or efforts to save the building.

“I knew where it was because I could see the smoke coming down from the Brighton Road,” he said.

Fire crews from Athens, Cornville and Harmony were sent to the scene, as was a tanker truck from Wellington. Emergency personnel from EMS ambulance service at Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan and Harmony Regional Ambulance also were on scene.

Water to douse the flames was trucked from Wesserunsett Stream behind the Athens fire station, about three miles away in the village center.

Also assisting local departments were Kory Partridge and his father Daryel of the North Anson Fire Department who were working nearby. The men had their firefighting gear with them and offered to help by bringing a front-end loader to the scene, they said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.