NEW SHARON — Investigators are unable to determine the cause of a fire that left a New Sharon family of seven homeless over the weekend because the damage to their home was so extensive, the local fire chief says.

“There was nothing at fault, but there was so much damage done, it was hard to determine what was the cause,” Fire Chief Roger Foster said of the Friday night fire at 660 Weeks Mills Road.

Firefighters from eight towns responded to the fire around 11 p.m. Friday and were on the scene until early Saturday battling the blaze at the farmhouse where Thomas Bailey, his wife, Jenny, and their five children between the ages of 2 and 9 were living, Foster said.

The family went out to dinner Friday night and found their house on fire when they returned, he said.

“They were out to supper and when they came back, the house was fully involved and they called us,” Foster said.

Investigators from the Office of State Fire Marshal were at the scene Saturday, but they were unable to determine a cause because of the extensive damage, he said.


The fire appeared to start in the back of the house, which the family was renting from an out-of-state owner, Foster said. The name of the homeowner was unavailable.

The family also had 40 cows in a nearby barn. The barn was not damaged, and the cattle were uninjured, Foster said.

“We responded quick enough so it didn’t get to them,” he said. “The only damage was to the house itself, and that was a total loss.”

The family did not have renters insurance and lost everything, Foster said. He believes they are staying with family and friends and said the American Red Cross was contacted to provide help.

“The whole house was gutted right out,” Foster said. “When we arrived on scene the whole house was engulfed in flames. There was nothing we could do at that point. It was so bad that when we got there, the first engine on scene, there was no chance of even attempting to go in because it was that far gone.”

Firefighters from Farmington, Chesterville, Wilton, Temple, Industry, Strong and New Vineyard also responded. By Sunday morning, a GoFundMe page was set up for money for the family, and donations also were being collected at Divine Inspirations in Farmington.

“People are already flooding in, dropping things off,” said Tammy Parsons, the owner of Divine Inspirations and a friend of the Bailey family. “This is an awesome community, and people are already starting to give.”

Parsons said she will continue to collect clothing and money for the family throughout the week. The children are ages 9, 7, 5, 4 and 2. For more information on clothing sizes and needs, Parsons can be reached at 491-2898.

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