ACTON — An elderly woman is safe and her home is intact this morning after firefighters from six communities battled a fire that destroyed the attached barn on Sunday.

A passerby saw smoke emanating from the barn at 3000 Milton Mills Road and alerted a neighbor, who turned out to be Assistant Rescue Chief Sharon Jackson, according to Fire Chief Pete Smith, who said Jackson and the passerby brought the home’s resident, Virginia Mee, to safety.

Smith said an investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s office determined the fire started in the barn, but the cause, which is not thought to be suspicious, has not been determined.

The fire was reported at about 10 a.m., Sunday. Smith and firefighter Brian Jackson ”“ who is married to the assistant rescue chief ”“ were at the fire station when the call came in, and were able to get a quick start, Smith said. In total, firefighters from Lebanon, Shapleigh, Newfield, Sanford, Acton and neighboring Milton, New Hampshire fought the blaze.

“It was a hot one,” said Smith, who explained that Mee’s husband had been a carpenter, and there was lumber stored in the three story barn ”“ meaning there was plenty of fuel that stoked the fire.

Two neighboring properties were affected ”“ firefighters quelled a fire at another barn, and the fire blew out the windows on another property, Smith said.

Smith said a water source nearby helped the firefighting effort, and the fire was knocked down quickly, though an excavator had to be brought in to take the barn’s remnants down because of safety reasons and hot spots.

Mee is staying with a daughter who lives nearby.

No one was injured, though Mee’s pet bird perished in the fire.

Smith said the home sustained smoke damage.

Neither Mee or her daughter could be reached for comment this morning, nor could Sharon Jackson, who posted her thanks on the Acton Fire Department’s Facebook page to the passerby who knocked on her door Sunday morning, alerting her to the fire next door. Jackson thanked the man, and the woman who looked after her baby while she made the appropriate notifications.

“I cannot thank you enough,” Jackson said, in part. “ Because of you both, not only was (Mrs. Mee’s) life saved, but you helped save her home. You are both truly heroes.”

Smith, the fire chief, praised the efforts of firefighters.

“I can’t thank the boys and girls enough,” he said.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]



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