DOVER-FOXCROFT — Every available firefighter in the region rushed to a fire at a historic 1914 farm on Shaw Road on Sunday afternoon, but nothing could stop the fast-moving flames, Fire Chief Gerald Guyotte said.

“It’s burned flat,” the chief said of the fire at 257 Shaw Road, which leveled the 50-foot-tall barn and the adjacent house. “It was one of the old barns.”

Karen and Fred Cookson own the farm and were unloading a truck in the barn when something under the truck, possibly hay shavings, caught fire, the fire chief said at about 7 p.m.

“They drove the truck out [of the barn] and looked back and the whole barn was on fire,” Guyotte said.

The fire station is 6 miles away and by the time local firefighters arrived around 3 p.m., the entire place was burning, the chief said.

“They lost two cows, 100 chickens and a cat,” Guyotte said. “Everybody else got out.”


Around 100 firefighters from 11 towns fought the blaze, and some were treated for heat exhaustion at Mayo Regional Hospital, he said.

The Cooksons ran a working farm, Guyotte said.

“They raised beef cattle — farm-fresh beef — and they had horses,” the fire chief said. “They’re farm people and worked the land. I called the Red Cross, but they’re staying with friends in Dexter.”

Shaw Road is located off Route 7 near the Garland town line and is approximately 2 miles long.

The family is grateful to have escaped the flames, the fire chief said.

Fred Cookson told the chief he is upset about his loss, but added, “There are people worse off than me,” Guyotte said, recalling his conversation with the farm owner.

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