Portland family escapes Deering Avenue fire

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PORTLAND — Four people escaped an early morning house fire Tuesday at 40 Deering Ave.

Homeowner Nancy Teras said she, her husband, step-daughter and mother escaped the 1890s-era home shortly before dawn when flames broke out on the back wall of the building, where part of the roof eventually collapsed.

Fire Department spokesman Tim Nangle said the three-alarm blaze was reported around 5 a.m. as an outdoor fire behind 158 Grant St. Firefighters from the Bramhall Station on Congress Street found “heavy fire” behind the Deering Avenue home.

Nangle said the building is subdivided into apartments, but it appeared the upper floors were unoccupied.

“Every Portland fire company responded to the fire,” Nangle said. One firefighter was taken from the scene for a medical condition that was not life-threatening, he added.

Nangle said one cat died in the fire, and another was rescued and reunited with Teras’ family.

Neighbor John DiBernardo said he awoke to the sound of approaching fire engines and left his house when the sirens stopped directly outside. From the street he saw flames leaping 10 to 20 feet above the roof, he estimated.

Police closed off Deering Avenue from Park Avenue to Congress Street and several blocks throughout the neighborhood, including portions of Cumberland Avenue and Grant and Sherman streets.

In addition to the collapse of the roof into the third-floor attic space, Nangle said the back of the residence was heavily damaged.

The cause of the fire is now under investigation, and Nangle said investigators will also be looking to see if smoke detectors were installed and working.

Fire and rescue departments from neighboring communities including Scarborough and Falmouth provided coverage at city fire stations during the fire, Nangle said.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8. Ben McCanna can be reached at bmccanna@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.

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Portland firefighters battle a house fire at 40 Deering Ave. on Tuesday morning, Sept. 16. Four residents escaped without injury, but one cat was killed.

A fire rages early Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 40 Deering Ave., Portland. Neighbor John DiBernardo said flames were shooting about 10 or 15 feet above the roof when firefighters arrived.

Portland firefighters battle a house fire at 40 Deering Ave. on Tuesday morning. Police shut down Deering Avenue from Park Avenue to Congress Street, plus portions of Cumberland Avenue and Grant and Sherman streets.

Additional firefighters arrive at the scene of a house fire at 40 Deering Ave. on Tuesday morning.

Orange smoke fills the sky above the Parkside neighborhood of Portland on Tuesday morning during a house fire at 40 Deering Ave. in this view from an apartment building at Mechanic Street.

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