UPDATE: Family says heater not the cause of North Yarmouth barn fire

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NORTH YARMOUTH — A fire early Monday morning destroyed a barn and burned part of a second building, and claimed the lives of many chickens and sheep, according to fire officials.

The cause of the blaze at 140 West Pownal Road was undetermined, but it appeared foul play was not a factor.

“There’s extensive fire damage; we’ll be working on identifying a single issue, but we don’t believe that there are any issues of concern,” Mark Roberts, an investigator with the state fire marshal’s office, said Monday.

He added that the cause could ultimately be classified as undetermined, but “there are no red flags for us at this point.”

Jules Fecteau, whose mother Rosemary Fecteau owns the property, said Tuesday that the fire was so devastating that the fire marshall’s office could not determine an exact cause.

She said an investigator had told her that the most common cause of barn fires is rodents chewing into wiring. Contrary to published speculation, Fecteau said there was no heating lamp on in the barn when the fire took place.

Thomas Joel, who Fecteau called a family friend, reported the fire at 2 a.m. Stoddard said.

Roberts said heavy winds made it more difficult to contain the blaze.

The fire claimed 19 newborn lambs, 11 adult sheep and 500 young chickens, according to acting Fire Chief Harold Stoddard. No people were hurt.

“We’ve had a really wonderful warm response from our neighbors, and we really appreciate everybody’s support, and we’re very proud to part of this community,” Fecteau said.

Besides North Yarmouth, firefighters from Pownal, Gray, Yarmouth and Cumberland attacked the fire, and the scene was cleared at about 6:30 a.m., Stoddard said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A fire early Monday morning in North Yarmouth destroyed two barns and part of a third, and claimed the lives of many chickens and sheep, according to fire officials.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.