SOUTH PORTLAND — Fire ripped through a house on Crestview Drive on Friday morning, displacing a family of four who had lived there for 17 years.

The homeowner, Jimmy Nguyen, said his wife, daughter and mother-in-law were at home when the fire started shortly before 10 a.m., and all three escaped unharmed.

By the time firefighters arrived about three minutes after the fire was reported, the home’s front porch and facade were engulfed in flames, said Lt. Robb Couture of the South Portland Fire Department.

The first engine company arrived a couple of minutes later, and firefighters immediately set to work dousing the flames.

As fire crews battled the blaze, Nguyen’s mother-in-law sat across the street, crying uncontrollably as neighbors held her hand and tried to soothe her.

More than an hour later, crews were still extinguishing hot spots, but had the fire almost entirely under control.

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By that time most of the roof had caved in, and plumes of white smoke that had poured from the structure slowed.

In addition to the all-hands call to South Portland fire companies, firefighters from Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Portland and Westbrook helped to fight the fire or cover South Portland’s stations.

The house and land, valued by the city at $402,500, is considered a total loss, Couture said. Crestview Drive is off Highland Avenue.

Couture said one South Portland firefighter was taken to Mercy Hospital in Portland to receive stitches for a cut to his hand.

No one else was harmed in the fire.

Nguyen runs a flooring company, Jimmy Express. He said he lost some of his equipment but will be able to continue working.

Investigators from South Portland are expected to begin investigating the fire’s cause and origin. Early indications point to a source of the flames near the front of the home, but Couture said it was not yet clear whether the fire started inside or outside the home.

 


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