Firefighters from Harrington, Addison and Cherryfield were among those who helped douse a fire in Harrington Sunday. A dog helped rouse the home's residents. As the fire spread to a nearby barn, 113 fowl -- including some from exotic species -- were killed. Credit: Courtesy of Rick Lindquist

The cause of a Washington County fire that left four people homeless and killed 113 birds will be logged as undetermined, a fire investigator said Tuesday.

The amount of damage done early Sunday to a farmhouse and attached barn in Harrington obscured the cause of the fire, said Sgt. Scott Richardson of the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“It started in the area of the barn, but we’re not sure what caused it,” Richardson said Tuesday.

[A pit bull named Angel kept Washington County fire from being worse]

The ducks, ducklings, chickens, chicks, geese, turkeys and quail were killed in the barn, and the fire spread to a connected farmhouse. According to owner Karen Bettencourt, her animals were purebred and included several exotic species worth thousands of dollars.

She, her partner John Jalbert and two others escaped the fire when the barking of her pit bull, Angel, awoke her, she said.

The fire was reported at 1:23 a.m., according to a dispatcher at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Built in 1861, the Civil War-era farmhouse had been where Bettencourt ran her poultry farm for about two years.

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