HARMONY — Skowhegan paramedic Jeff Chadbourne was on his way home from an overnight shift at work Monday morning when he noticed the ambulance was following him home.

“My ambulance pulled up behind me and said, ‘Jeff, we’re going to your farm. Your barn is on fire,'” said Chadbourne, 58.

The farm, Rough Cut Acres, is at the end of a long dirt driveway at 177 Chadbourne Road. By the time Chadbourne arrived there were flames everywhere.

His wife, Mel Chadbourne, had been walking the kids out the door on the way to school when they noticed what sounded like hail around 7 a.m. They turned around and saw their barn on fire.

They put their dogs, a stray piglet and a baby chick that was wandering around in the car and drove them to a neighbor’s house, but they were unable to get to several animals that died in the barn. The family lost two pigs, several piglets, five goats, several chickens and about 2,000 bales of hay — their entire winter supply, said Jeff Chadbourne.

The fire was out by noon, but the barn was destroyed and the fire had also damaged the family’s home.

Harmony Fire Chief Onie Lougee could not be reached for comment late Monday.

Chadbourne said he did not know what had started the fire but that the Office of Maine State Fire Marshal will be investigating. “We keep lights on for the chickens and for the pigs, but I just don’t know what it would have been,” he said.

Chadbourne also lost two tractors and other farm equipment, although the family’s cows, a llama and two donkeys were able to get out of the barn.

It has been a difficult couple of days for the family. Chadbourne’s mother died Friday. On Sunday he was also in the Skowhegan ambulance that pulled up on a fatal accident in which a pedestrian was struck and killed while attempting to cross Madison Avenue.

The Chadbournes have insurance, but said they aren’t sure how much of the damage to the barn and equipment it would cover.

By mid-day Monday a GoFundMe page had been started to help raise money for the family.

“Jeff is a paramedic with Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan and has spent a lifetime caring for others,” the page said. “His wife Mel is a registered nurse, and they have three teenage children. As a local family farm in Harmony, they have lost so much. Let’s come together and support Jeff and his family.”

Firefighters from Athens and Cambridge also responded to the scene.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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