The fire that killed 500 chicks and 30 sheep at a North Yarmouth farm Monday was so destructive that the cause may never be determined, the farmer and a state fire investigator said Friday.

Jules Fecteau, whose family owns Serendipity Acres on West Pownal Road, said she plans to use insurance money to rebuild the business and that the family has been buoyed by community support. But as she waits for her insurance company to complete its own investigation, the charred rubble and animal remains are still at the undisturbed fire site in view of her traumatized family.

“Its very upsetting,” Fecteau said. “The bodies of the beloved animals are sitting out there in the rubble. This is a multigenerational family farm. Three other members of my family live on the land with their children. All of the children know these animals and their names and what happened with them.”

Sgt. Joel Davis of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said the fire was not suspicious, and that there was scant physical evidence to examine when investigators arrived.

“The building was flat when we got there,” Davis said. “It was probably electrically related.”

Fecteau’s insurance company, which she declined to identify, told her not to touch anything at the scene until an investigator finishes examining it, she said.


Serendipity Acres is an organic farm that sells pasture-raised chickens, turkeys and lambs and produces wool, sheepskins and eggs, according to its website. The farm sells products at local farmers’ markets and directly to restaurants.

Fecteau said that since the blaze early Monday, she has barely slept. Lifting her spirits, however, are the well-wishes from other farmers and the general public.

A local farm supply store has been taking the names of people who have offered to help, and Fecteau said she plans a party to thank the community for its warmth during the difficult period following the fire.

“Really, we don’t have time to respond to the many offers of help,” she said.

At first, investigators suspected the cause of the fire was related to the heating apparatus in place to keep the baby birds warm. But on Friday, Fecteau said aging wiring that had been chewed by rodents appeared to be a more likely culprit, although she will never know for sure.

“(The fire marshal investigator) showed us some bubbling of the copper and said that happens when electricity arcs,” she said. An arc of electricity usually indicates a wire shorting out when its bare metal core is exposed.


“One of the most common causes of that, especially in a building with 1977 wiring, is rodents chewing on the wire,” Fecteau said.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

Twitter: MattByrnePPH


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