MOUNT VERNON — Firefighters from 10 towns responded to a structure fire at a pallet mill Thursday morning. 


Rebecca Tardif and her husband, Paul, have lived beside the mill for 13 years and rent it from the owners of the mill, who had alerted them that there was a fire. They rushed to collect loved ones at their home — their sleeping son, four dogs and seven birds — after being told there was a “75 percent chance there wouldn’t be a house.”

“We’re safe. Whatever happens, happens,” said Rebecca Tardif from inside their family’s truck as she watched firemen climb her garage to find another vantage point to spray water.

Behind Tardif were her pets, who called and whined nervously.

The Tardifs have six children, three of whom live with them. Their youngest two are school-aged children and were safe at school. Tardiff said that the family does not have renters’ insurance.


The mill, Edgar Clark & Son Pallet Inc., is owned by Donny Clark.

Mandi Clark, daughter of the mill’s owner and an employee, said the cause of the fire was undetermined.

“It might have happened when the snow slid off the roof,” she speculated. “It took the chimney to the furnace with it.”

The call came in at 9:51 a.m. Thursday, with a report of a small fire that people at the business were attempting to put out with fire extinguishers. Soon, the fire had grown and the building was evacuated. No one was injured.

The fire was contained around noon, according to Mount Vernon Fire Chief Dana Dunn, but firefighters remained on scene to extinguish the house.

It did not appear that the fire had spread to the Tardif home.


Firefighters from Lakes Region Mutual Aid — which includes the towns of Mount Vernon, Manchester, Readfield, Wayne, Vienna and Fayette — responded to the call along with Belgrade, Winthrop, Monmouth and New Sharon.

“This is the first time Monmouth has responded to Mount Vernon,” said Michelle Handley, volunteer photographer for the department.

After being cleared from the scene after 1 p.m., Fayette and New Sharon fire departments were called to a structure fire in Chesterville.


Abigail Austin — 621-5631
Twitter: @AbigailAustinKJ

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