GOULDSBORO, Maine — An early morning fire Monday destroyed the old wooden barn that was the centerpiece of the Darthia Farm on West Bay Road in Gouldsboro, killing the assortment of horses, sheep, pigs, calves and young ducklings and chickens inside.

Owner Bill Thayer said he was awakened about 2:30 a.m. by flashes of light from the fire. He said he tried to rescue his three draft horses but was driven back by the intense heat of the fire. Thayer said his wife, Cynthia, tried unsuccessfully to let 20 sheep out of the burning barn, suffering a burn above one eye in the process. Also killed were two pigs, two calves and about 60 young chickens and ducks.

Thayer speculates that the fire was sparked by a heat lamp, despite precautions taken in installing the lamp to ensure it wouldn’t pose a fire risk. Gouldsboro Police Chief Glenn Grant said at the scene that an effort to pinpoint the cause of the fire would be made as an excavator sorted through the smoldering rubble.

In addition to the animals lost in the fire, Thayer said the barn held 450 bales of hay and straw.

Gouldsboro firefighters were assisted by responders from Sorrento, Steuben, Sullivan and Winter Harbor, Grant said.