GRAY – Fire caused by a portable heater in a basement destroyed an unoccupied home early this morning.

A police officer passed by the house at 270 W. Gray Rd. around 1 a.m., said Gray Fire Chief Galen Morrison. When fire crews arrived minutes later, smoke was rising from all four sides of the two-story farmhouse.

It took firefighters about one hour and 20 minutes to knock down the flames, which stretched from the basement all the way through the roof. The effort included about 45 firefighters, police and rescue personnel from Gray, Windham, New Gloucester and Cumberland. No one was injured.

“Everyone did a really good job,” Morrison said. “Unfortunately the damage was extensive.”

The state Fire Marshal’s Office investigated and determined that a portable kerosene heater in the basement had ignited some nearby chairs. The house was for sale and was not occupied. The basement heater was running to keep the water tank and pipes from freezing.