ANDOVER — Residents of this small community are on edge after suspicious fires destroyed two large, vacant homesteads on both ends of Main Street, Fire Chief Jim Adler said Monday.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state Fire Marshal’s Office said Monday that blazes Friday and Saturday nights were deliberately set.

“People in town are a little anxious,” Adler said Monday. “They know something is suspicious. People are on edge (and) it makes it hard for us firefighters to go to sleep at night.”

He said the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office is patrolling the area more as a result of the fires.

Adler said he contacted the fire marshal because “the buildings had no power to them and they had no heat source, they had no wood stove, they had nothing that would have started a fire without some form of assistance.”

Saturday’s fire leveled the historic Mills family house, ell and attached barn at 28 South Main St. shortly after 11 p.m.

“It was kind of a landmark in Andover,” Adler said, and hadn’t been occupied for about 30 years.

Town Clerk Melinda Averill said Monday evening that her father, Roger Mills, 88, grew up in the house.

“My father had a heart attack over this Saturday night,” she said. He was being treated at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, she said.

The homestead was owned by Roger Mills’ daughter, Patricia Cox, of Dixfield, and contained family heirlooms and memorabilia, Averill said.

Cox owns Mills Market next to the family homestead, Averill said.

A fire early Friday evening destroyed a two-story, Victorian-style house and barn at 126 North Main St., Adler said. The 30- by-42-foot house was engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived. The house and the barn, which was about 28 by 28 feet, were empty and had been vacant for several years, he said.

The property was owned by a financial institution, Averill said Monday.

In both fires, crews from Andover, Rumford, Roxbury, Mexico, Dixfield and Peru fought a losing battle, drawing water from town hydrants.

For Adler, who has been a member of the Andover Fire Department for years, the fires were the first since he was elected chief last month.

“The Fire Marshal’s Office is doing an investigation and we’re hoping they can get to the bottom of it, and we’re hoping we don’t have any more structure fires for a long time,” he said.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 626-3870 or state police at 657-3030, Grimes said.

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