s-spfire-010209 Firefighter hurt, family displaced by Christmas Eve blaze

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A firefighter and resident were injured during a fire that tore through the top floor of an Ocean Street duplex on Christmas Eve.
Fire Chief Kevin Guimond said it only took crews about 15 minutes to knock down the fire, first reported at 347 Ocean St. shortly before 12:30 p.m.
“They did a good job,” Guimond said. “There was a lot of fire when they first pulled in.”
Guimond said a kerosene heater in the vacant second-floor apartment caused the fire, although investigators are still narrowing the exact cause.
Guimond said a firefighter sustained injuries to his knee and hand when
a five-gallon container of kerosene exploded, throwing him down a
flight of stairs. The firefighter, Tom Connolly, is expected to return
to duty in about 10 days, Guimond said.
There was about $85,000 in estimated damage to the building, but Guimond said the first-floor apartment, occupied by a family of four, only sustained minor water damage. No Christmas presents were lost in the blaze, but a resident suffered minor hand injuries and was treated at the scene.
The residents were relocated by the Red Cross, Guimond said, since utilities to the building were turned off.
Mike Mason, director of Red Cross emergency services, said the Red Cross arranged for a three-night stay at a local hotel for the displaced family, and provided food assistance. He said the family is not expecting to return to their home.
“They are currently looking for a permanent place to stay,” Mason said.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net.

Ocean St Fire 2.JPGSouth Portland firefighters battle a Christmas Eve blaze at 347 Ocean St. Courtesy Jeanne Grabler.