AUGUSTA — A fire caused significant damage Tuesday night to a structurally deficient barn stuffed full of items, leaving it in such a precarious state that the two families living in the adjoining two-unit house had to evacuate, according to Augusta Fire Chief Roger Audette.

Nobody was hurt in the two-alarm fire at 110 Northern Ave., in the city’s Sand Hill neighborhood, which was reported about 8:30 p.m. and drew help from fire departments in Gardiner, Winthrop and Togus, Audette said.

No accommodations had to be secured for the evacuated families, he said, adding, “They made their own arrangements to stay at other locations,”

The two apartments sustained only minor smoke damage, Audette said.

The fire also threated a multi-unit building standing only four feet away, but ultimately did not damage it, the fire chief said.

The barn already had been in such bad condition that last week the city’s code enforcement office ordered the owner, Olin Charette, to have it torn down, he said. Audette said he didn’t know whether the barn was insured.

The state fire marshal’s office and Augusta police are investigating the fire, Audette said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within 45 minutes, he said, and the effort to put out the fire forced the closure of Northern Avenue for about an hour and a half.

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