Watch: Fire destroys 122-year-old Farmingdale house under renovation to be sold

A firefighter attacks a swift-moving blaze Tuesday that destroyed a Farmingdale home undergoing renovation in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

FARMINGDALE — A swift-moving fire destroyed a barn and house Tuesday afternoon that was under renovation and nearing completion on Northern Avenue.

The owner of the home said it was not being lived in. No one was hurt as the construction workers at the site, who reported the fire to authorities, made it out unharmed.

John Jaques, owner of the home, is a real estate agent for Keller Williams Realty and was in the process of flipping the 122-year-old house. He’d bought it a few months ago and was having it renovated to be resold.

He said it was nearing completion and was only weeks away from being fully renovated and ready to be put on the market.

“It was looking really good,” he said of the under-renovation home at 594 Northern Ave. “It was a nice house. It had a tin ceiling. I’d just put a master suite in.”

Jaques wasn’t at the home when the fire broke out but went to it after a worker called him, after calling for the fire department. He could see the flames from the highway as he made his way there.

He said the fire appeared to start in the barn, then spread to the house. Three carpenters and two plumbers were working on the home at the time of the fire, Jaques said, adding that the building had been converted into a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home.

The home was insured, the owner said, and was built around 1900.

The barn, which was to the rear of the property, was leveled by the fire, while all that remained of the adjacent home by 1:30 p.m. was a charred shell of burned wooden wall remnants, with vinyl siding clinging to one side twisted and melted.



Firefighters remained at the scene Tuesday afternoon, putting out hotspots and extinguishing a couple areas where the flames had spread into the surrounding woods. At least one Maine forest ranger helped out. Jaques’ tractor, which was parked next to the barn, also appeared to catch on fire.

Contents of the house likely lost to the fire included an extensive number of tools, as well as cabinets and new fixtures in the home.

Firefighters from Gardiner and several area departments responded to help Farmingdale firefighters.

Mike LaPlante, assistant fire chief in Farmingdale, said firefighters could see smoke from as far away as Augusta. It was fully engulfed in tall flames when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters rotated tanker trucks to the site to provide water, which they shuttled from the nearest fire hydrants a couple miles up the road.

A firefighter attacks a swift-moving blaze Tuesday that destroyed a Farmingdale home undergoing renovation in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“This is what it looks like when you’re out of the hydrant district,” LaPlante said of bringing in trucks full of water from off-site. “We tried to keep the road open, for the water supply.”

An investigator from the Office of State Fire Marshal responded to the scene to try to determine the cause of the blaze.

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