SOUTH PORTLAND — Fire destroyed an attached garage and a vehicle on Hamilton Street tonight.

Fire Chief Kevin Guimond said the fire at 81 Hamilton St. was reported at 7:12 p.m. The timing was fortunate because the Fire Department was hosting a union meeting, a few blocks away from the fire.

“About 45 guys were there in five minutes,” Guimond said. “We had the fire knocked down in 20 minutes.”

However, they were unable to save the garage or a Chrysler Dodge minivan, which had been parked inside the garage. Guimond said firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the home.

Three people, who were having dinner, smelled smoke, and were able to flee to safety. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.