A house at 187 Priest Hill Road in Vassalboro was destroyed Tuesday by a fire. Photo courtesy of Walker Thompson

A farmhouse in Vassalboro was destroyed in a fire Wednesday, which investigators say was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials.

A father and son escaped uninjured from the burning two-story house at 187 Priest Hill Road, according to Walker Thompson, chief of the Vassalboro Fire Department. Crews received a call about the blaze around 9:40 a.m. Tuesday.

When crews arrived on scene, there was already heavy fire on the house’s second floor, and the father and son had unsuccessfully tried to put it out.

“It was a very difficult fire to put out,” Thompson said, saying the flames took off into closet and attic spaces that were hard to get at.

Vassalboro called on mutual aid crews from Albion, China, Waterville and Winslow, as well as Delta Ambulance. In all, around 25 firefighters responded from those crews, and they were able to get the blaze under control around noon, Thompson said.

“I will say for the time of day, and (considering) fire departments are struggling with manpower, I’m very thankful we had the turnout that we did,” he said. “Mutual aid worked great; I’m very thankful.”

No one was injured and the Maine Office of the State Fire Marshal was called to investigate the cause, which was later determined to be improper disposal of smoking materials in a bedroom on the second floor.

Thompson said he considered the home to be a total loss, with heavy fire damage on the second floor and water damage on the first floor. Red Cross was contacted by responders to help the family find temporary housing.

Crews left the scene around 3:30 — tired and hot as temperatures rose to 90 degrees by the afternoon. The Kennebec Emergency Management Agency had responded as well to install fans for overheated firefighters during the six-hour firefighting battle.

“With the heat today, it was very tough,” Thompson said, “but everyone managed.”

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