Oxford

Chimney fire spreads, damages ranch home

Fire damaged a ranch home in Oxford on Saturday evening, but officials said it was still livable.

Fire Capt. Shawn Cordwell said the report of a fire at 86 Whittemore Road came in around 6:30 p.m. He said the initial report was for a chimney fire, but firefighters found smoke coming from the roof when they arrived and determined the fire had spread into an adjacent wall.

Cordwell said Oxford firefighters, aided by companies from Norway, Paris, Mechanic Falls and Poland, were able to knock down the fire quickly and minimize the damage.

FAIRFIELD

Authorities identify woman killed in fiery Fairfield crash

Police have identified the Maine woman killed in a fiery crash in Fairfield on March 20.

Authorities said 39-year-old Tammy Sue Harl of Norridgewock died after she lost control of her car on Route 139 and slid into the path of an oncoming pickup truck. Police said icy road conditions contributed to the crash.

The driver of the truck was not seriously injured.

Harl’s 1996 Plymouth Neon was incinerated. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner used DNA testing to identify Harl.

LISBON

Man looking for mushrooms delivers baby porcupine

A Maine man in search of a valuable mineral cut open a dead porcupine on the side of the road and unexpectedly pulled out its baby.

Jared Buzzell of Lisbon said he was searching for wild mushrooms Thursday when he saw a porcupine get hit by a car in Minot.

Buzzell said he had heard that a valuable mineral deposit used in Chinese medicine formed in the stomachs of porcupines. He cut open the dead porcupine to search for the mineral and instead found the baby.

Buzzell told WMTW-TV that he cut the umbilical cord and thought the baby porcupine was dead until he started massaging it and it began breathing.

Buzzell is caring for the baby at home and plans to give it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

MONTPELIER

Vermont reports first case of swine operation virus

Vermont has seen its first case of a swine virus spreading across the country that kills nearly all the young pigs that catch it, said the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

The first case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus was confirmed in a swine operation in Rutland County on March 26, the agency said.

The porcine virus does not make people sick and it does not affect other species of livestock. It does not affect pork safety and pork remains completely safe to eat.

The most common sign of the virus is severe diarrhea. Older pigs generally survive.

“Farmers should take steps to minimize the chance of introducing (the virus) into their herds,” said state veterinarian Kristin Haas. “Swine owners should consult with their veterinarians to develop disease prevention plans tailored to their swine herd needs.”

Since the virus was first detected in the U.S. about a year ago, it has been reported at more than 4,000 premises in 27 states.

– From staff and news services