A fire late Sunday morning destroyed a garage and a barn at a farmhouse in Pownal, but firefighters were able to mostly prevent damage to the house.

The fire at 78 Merrill Road was reported by the homeowners shortly before noon, Fire Chief Jesse Peters said. It appeared to have started in the garage and then spread to the barn, he said, but firefighters were able to get it under control before it did much damage to the house. Still, Peters said, the family would not be able to stay in the house Sunday night because power was shut off.

Red Cross officials are helping the family make other living arrangements, he said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, Peters said, and investigators from the state Fire Marshal’s office will help local fire officials investigate the cause on Monday.

Fire departments in 11 towns responded to help fight the fire or staff Pownal fire stations during the nearly five hours that crews were on the scene, he said.

Fighting the fire was made more difficult when the flames spread to an adjacent field, Peters said. That fire burned about 1-1/2 acres before it was doused, he said.

None of the occupants or their pets were hurt and no firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze.

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