AUGUSTA — Nobody was hurt Monday morning when a fire broke out inside a School Street home, but the property was badly damaged.

Battalion Chief David Groder of the Augusta Fire Department said the fire started in the kitchen of the 1 1/2-story, Cape Cod-style house at 65 School St.

“The origin was in the kitchen area,” Groder said.

Nobody was at the home at the South Belfast Avenue intersection when the fire broke out shortly before noon. Smoke was pouring out of windows on three sides of the house when firefighters arrived. Firefighters from Gardiner, Winthrop and the VA Maine Medical Center at Togus worked with Augusta crews to quickly extinguish the blaze. Firefighters had the blaze knocked down within 30 minutes before turning their attention to checking for hot spots.

Groder said the fire started when a burner on the stove was left on.

Several people surrounded a woman, identified as Rebecca Poulin, the occupant of the house who at times was overcome with emotion.

“She’s got a lot of support here,” Groder said.

He did not know who owns the home. City tax records indicate the property is owned by Ann Quirion and the heirs of Lawrence Joseph Evers.

Groder said the home has most recently been occupied by a woman, whom Groder did not identify.

“She left and returned home to discover the fire,” Groder said.

Groder said the occupant has renters’ insurance.

Heather Russell and her sister, Megan Russell, said Poulin lives alone in the home. The Russells said they have known Poulin for years.

“She’s really upset,” Heather Russell said. “She’s the nicest woman ever. She’d do anything to help anyone.”

Russell said the fire started a short time after Poulin left the home, but she was unsure how it started.

“She said she doesn’t know,” Heather Russell said. “She might have left something on. She doesn’t know at all.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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