HOLDEN, Maine — A Holden family is safe after a fast-moving fire destroyed their antique farmhouse and attached barn on Mann Hill Road on Sunday morning.
James and Heidi Turner and their three young children escaped without injury after Heidi Turner came downstairs with an early-rising youngster at about 4:30 a.m., according to Assistant Chief Andrew Emery of the Holden Fire Department.
“She came down to get him some toast … and saw flames shooting out of the barn,” Emery said. Heidi Turner called 911, roused the rest of the family and everyone got out, he said. Firefighters arrived a few minutes later to find the barn ablaze with flames burning toward the ell connecting the barn to the house.
“We stopped it in the ell,” Emery said. The barn was destroyed by the fire, and the house and its contents are a total loss because of smoke and water damage, he said.
Three dogs, two cats, two horses and a pony were rescued, but one cat and a flock of chickens perished in the fire.
Firefighters from Holden, Eddington, Orrington, Brewer, Dedham-Lucerne, Bradley, Milford and Hampden responded to the alarm, and the blaze was under control within a couple of hours and out completely by midafternoon, Emery said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation with the state fire marshal expected to arrive at the scene on Monday.
The home, built in the mid- to late 1800s, was in good shape and had many recent improvements, Emery said. The property was insured, but the family has lost all possessions.
“They got out with what they were wearing,” Emery said.
The Turner children who escaped the fire are 3, 4 and 6 years old. Another three children live with a different set of parents and did not lose their possessions in the blaze, he said.
Those who want to make a donation in support of the displaced family may contact the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross at 941-2903.