NEW VINEYARD — A fire Tuesday night that likely started by improperly disposed ashes destroyed an old farmhouse and attached barn at 1639 New Vineyard Road, fire Chief Doug Churchill said Wednesday.

Owner Chris Bourque was not home at the time, but his young son and a friend watching him were and safely escaped, Churchill said.

The family’s dog also escaped, but a couple of cats are missing, the chief said.

About 40 firefighters from nine towns, along with at least a dozen trucks, responded to the blaze that was reported at 9:50 p.m.

The fire started in the area of the barn and progressed through the two-story house and pretty much gutted it, Churchill said. The barn was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

The family did not have insurance, Churchill said.

State fire investigator Sgt. Ken Grimes helped Churchill determine the cause.

Firefighters drafted water from a brook and shuttled it about a quarter-mile away to the house on Route 27.

The American Red Cross has been contacted to assist the family.

Bourque and his son stayed with neighbors Tuesday night, Churchill said.

Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, Kingfield, New Portland, New Sharon, Strong and Temple fire departments provided mutual aid.

Churchill said he arrived back at the fire station at 2:51 a.m. Wednesday but returned to the scene later in the morning to put out some hot spots.

A donation container has been set up at Our Village Market on Route 27 in New Vineyard to help Bourque, a hair stylist at SmartStyle in Wal-Mart in Farmington, and his son, who attends Mallett School in Farmington.

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