Barn Fire Claims All Of Farm’s Animals
Fishermen’s Voice Staff
An early morning fire at a Gouldsboro farm destroyed a barn and all the animals in it.
Bill and Cindy Thayer were asleep in the house next to the barn. Bill was waken by light flashing outside. He told his wife Cindy the barn was on fire and went out to find a raging fire. Thayer attempted to let his three draft horses out of the barn, but he was driven back by the intense heat. Cindy Thayer attempted to let their 20 sheep out, but the heat was overwhelming and she sustained a burn on her head before being forced back.
Fire departments from Gouldsboro and surrounding towns arrived at 2:30 am Monday to find the barn engulfed in flames. Flames rose thirty feet above the roof of the barn which contained 450 bales of hay.
Lost in the fire were three draft horses that had worked the farm for nearly twenty years, 20 sheep, two pigs, two calves, four cows, 12 ducks, and 60 chickens and chicks. The cause of the fire has not been determined but Thayer suspects it may have been sparked by a heat lamp used to keep hatching chickens warm overnight. The lamp, a type commonly used for poultry, was properly installed.
Their house is just across the barnyard. Cindy Thayer said that before the fire department arrived the walls of the house were too hot to touch and that it barely escaped burning. The barn, the center around which the farm is built, was a total loss.
The Thayers have farmed there for more than 40 years. Their horses, which they raised from colts, plowed fields, cleared land, hauled mowing machines, hay wagons and pulled a hayride cart that local kids and visitors to the farm have ridden for years.
Darthia Farm is a working farm, a business on which the family depends. The Thayers are long time members of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Over the years children from local schools and families have visited the farm to see the animals, the farming operation and go on hayrides. It is one of the last working farms in the region. The Darthia Farm store has been a source of fresh food for area families and summer visitors for decades.
Bill Thayer said he plans to rebuild the barn this summer. The insurance however will not cover the full cost. People are pledging financial support, labor and equipment for the rebuilding effort.
Concerned friends and neighbors have set up a disaster relief fund at the Bar Harbor Bank and Trust in Winter Harbor. Anyone wishing to contribute to this fund may send donations to:
Darthia Farm Phoenix Fund
Bar Harbor Bank and Trust
PO Box 159
Winter Harbor, ME04693