ATHENS — Fire destroyed a large two-story barn and part of the adjoining farmhouse Thursday morning at 49 Brighton Road, state Route 151.

Homeowner Angela Avery said she doesn’t know what caused the fire.

“It started in the barn somewhere,” she said. “There’s nothing on in the barn, so I don’t know. I don’t know how it happened because I wasn’t here, I was at work.”

She lives in the house with her parents, Charles and Carla Avery, and her two daughters Jasmine Avery and Kristin Cooley. A dog was saved from the fire and no one was injured.

Newly appointed Fire Chief Travis Thompson, who started in the position Monday, said an investigator from the state fire marshal’s office was called to assist in the investigation. He said fire crews made every effort to keep the flames from consuming the house. Part of the living area of the home was damaged; the rest appeared to have smoke and water damage.

A call placed to the fire marshal was not immediately returned Thursday. Firefighters from Athens, Cornville, Skowhegan, Madison, Harmony and Wellington battled the blaze that raced through the century-old barn about 9 a.m.


Thompson said the fire was raging when firefighters showed up. Former Athens Fire Chief Jamie Stafford said there was a wood stove in the barn, but it was not being used.

There have been four serious structure fires in Athens in the past year.

Charles Avery said he had been to the barn about 30 minutes before the fire Thursday morning and found nothing wrong.

For more than 30 years, the house and barn were home to Sebasticook Farms and the Athens Sheltered Workshop, a residential and day program for mentally challenged adults. Sebasticook Farms, which closed its Athens facility about three years ago, later merged with Ken-A-Set of Waterville to become Skills Inc.

Angela Avery said she and her family bought the house in May 2010.

She said the fire was her family’s second in two years.


“We were remodeling a house in Solon that burned and we didn’t have insurance and we lost our money and everything,” she said. “We were remodeling, so they wouldn’t insure it.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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