Cause of Massive Portland House Fire Still Uncertain

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCConnecticut.com

    After a week-long investigation, authorities still haven't determined the cause of the two-alarm fire that decimated a Porland home last Wednesday as one of the teenage residents was preparing for his high school graduation.

    The fire broke out at a home on Belle Vista Heights and tore through the house the afternoon of June 18.

    All five residents made it out safely, and firefighters managed to save the student's cap and gown. He and his family attended Portland High School graduation that night, despite the devastation to their home, firefighters said.

    Fire officials said Friday that the flames started on the south side of the home but the cause remains unknown.

    "The whole thing moved very quickly," said Wayne Schmidt, who lives nearby and saw the billowing flames from his backyard. "Within the course of 10 to 15 minutes, that whole upstairs was gone."

    Portland fire officials said wind carried the flames and caused the fire to intensify.

    "I couldn't believe it," said neighbor Sean Healey, who caught sight of the smoke from his car down the road. "[There was] just black smoke everywhere. I was shocked coming through."

    Almost everything in the home is destroyed. Only the garage remained untouched.

    "The whole house is black," Shea said. "You're never going to be able to get into that house again. It's without words."

    The State Fire Marshal, Portland Fire Marshal and insurance investigators and engineered conducted the investigation and were unable to determine the cause of the fire, according to the Portland Fire Department.

    The above photo is courtesy of Maria Appell.