A home passed down through several generations of a Whitefield family was damaged heavily in a fire Wednesday evening.

The house, at 342 Jefferson Road, belongs to Colin Fergusson, who lived there with his girlfriend, Sara Roy. But given the great damage to the interior, they are now staying with Colin’s father, George Fergusson, who lives next door and co-owns the property with several other relatives.

“My grandfather bought the property in 1922,” George said on Thursday. “My son was the fourth generation of Fergussons to live there. … They lost the part (of the home) they lived in. It was completely destroyed.”

Firefighters from Whitefield, Jefferson, Somerville, Alna, Windsor, Chelsea and Pittson made an “aggressive attack” after the fire was reported at 5:28 p.m. Wednesday, but it was “not inhabitable” after the damage, Whitefield Fire Chief Scott Higgins said. After battling the worst of the fire from the outside, firefighters went indoors to extinguish the hot spots that were spread through the home.

Colin Fergusson’s three cats were all safe Thursday, but his dog, a beagle-pinscher mix named Emma, died in the fire. No one was home at the time of the fire.

George Fergusson said he and his wife went for a walk Wednesday afternoon and didn’t notice anything strange when they passed the home around 5 p.m. But soon afterward, a neighbor informed them smoke was coming out of the building.

“We had walked by a half-hour beforehand and didn’t see anything,” George said. “We had no reason to think a fire was brewing. That’s when we called 911.”

The fire started in the vicinity of the home’s wood stove, according to Higgins, and George said he thought it may have originated in the chimney. The causes did not appear suspicious, Higgins said, and he did not call the state fire marshal’s office to investigate.

Firefighters were at the scene until about midnight, and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office also responded.

The home was uninsured, and many of the possession in it were destroyed, George said. Family members have started an online fundraiser for Colin Fergusson and Sara Roy at the website GoFundMe.

“They’re talking about rebuilding,” said George Fergusson, who was also still reeling from the loss a day later. There were a number of family heirlooms in the home, including several cherished paintings by his grandfather.

“That’s a tragic loss,” he said of the artwork. “I grew up in that house. My sister grew up in that house. My father grew up in that house. It’s hard. We had a lot of history there.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

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Twitter: @ceichacker