A year after blaze, Falmouth farm reaps public’s generosity

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FALMOUTH — A year after a fire destroyed his home and garage, a local farmer has rebuilt his property, thanks in part to community support.

Last February, Doug Shores, owner of Wilshore Farm, woke up around 2:30 a.m. to see his home and garage at 85 Hurricane Road being consumed by fire. He was sleeping next door at his girlfriend’s home as the blaze destroyed both the structures, farm equipment, three vehicles, a tractor and countless family mementos.

“When you walk out with (just) the clothes on your back … it’s a pretty empty feeling,” Shores said Jan. 29.

But Shores and his girlfriend, Lori Michaud, said it was only hours later that support from friends, family and the community began pouring in.

Sitting in the now-rebuilt home, which is on the same site as the old farm house, the two said the community rallied to support them after the fire. People came by with clothes and other goods for Shores the same day his home was destroyed.

“The help of everybody has lessened the pain,” Michaud said. “It makes you feel cared for.”

In the weeks following the fire, two restaurants held fundraising events for Shores. Maddens Pub & Grill on Gray Road held an event the following week, and the Toddy Brook Cafe in Yarmouth held one in March.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched, and Shores said it raised more than $2,000 to help refurbish the home. He said area businesses also reached out.

“The response was so fast,” Michaud said.

By last August, Shores said, everything was rebuilt. Michaud said the fire did not impeded the work at Wilshore, which is a hay farm, other than the loss of the equipment.

Last year Shores said the biggest loss from the fire was all the family memorabilia he lost, including photos of his family, trophies he won racing cars, and ones his father had won for showing cattle.

“The family belongings you’ll never get back,” Shores said.

Wilshore was a dairy farm until 2012. Shores’ family bought the farm in 1970, when he was 7 years old.

“It was quite a landmark to the town,” he said.

But Shores said it was a warm feeling to know there were people out there who cared enough to help.

“Other than losing all the mementos, it feels good to have a house again,” he said.

Now a large rock sits outside the house on Hurricane Road. Michaud said the rock was found in the foundation of the old farm house, so they put it on display as both a reminder of the old home, but also a way to commemorate and thank all those who supported them.

“It’s the last remaining thing of the old house,” she said.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Doug Shores and Lori Michaud stand near a large rock that was pulled from the foundation of the home that burned last year at Wilshore Farm on Hurricane Road in Falmouth. They said the rock serves as a memento of the house and a way to thank everyone who gave them support in the fire’s aftermath.

The rebuilt home and garage at Wilshore Farm in Falmouth.

This was the scene the morning after the February 2015 fire that destroyed a home and garage at Wilshore Farm in Falmouth.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.