A chimney fire that spread to the upstairs of a Brighton Plantation home Saturday damaged the house enough that the owners cannot stay there, their daughter said Sunday.

Kenneth and Joanne Goodridge were home around 11:30 a.m. Saturday when the chimney fire started, their daughter, Christy Morgan said.

Firefighters from five departments responded to the scene at 1110 Brighton Road. No one from the Athens Fire Department, which also serves Brighton Plantation, could be reached for comment Sunday.

Joanne Goodridge has been the first selectwoman in Brighton Plantation, which has a population of about 86 people, for about 35 years, according to her daughter.

She was home when the fire started. After noticing smoke in the house, she went upstairs to see flames had broken through the walls, possibly from a weak spot in the chimney, according to Morgan.

“The firefighters were absolutely incredible,” she said. “They saved the house, because in 10 or 15 more minutes, I’m sure the whole upstairs would have been engulfed.”

The house did sustain extensive water damage, and “the whole thing will need to be gutted out,” although the structure of the house itself is still standing, Morgan said.

On Sunday she said volunteers, family and friends were helping her parents tear up rugs that had been damaged and go through their belongings. Friends with a camp in Brighton Plantation also offered the Goodridges their nearby camp as a place to stay.

“I’m sure we’ll have quite a few old-fashioned work parties,” Morgan said. “It’s actually a great story of thankfulness, everybody being okay and all of our friends and family showing up. The love we had around us was incredible, and God’s grace was on us all day Saturday.”

She said her parents have lived in the house since 1976 and that the chimney was old and likely in need of some repairs.

“It really needed to have more attention,” Morgan said. “It was the timing and a matter of just probably putting it off a little too long. I’m sure firefighters see that a lot and get frustrated with it.”

Firefighters from Athens and Cornville were at the scene until after 8 p.m. Saturday, according to Somerset County dispatch reports. Also responding were firefighters from Harmony, Madison and Skowhegan, and Harmony Rescue.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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