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"It's a lifetime of stuff going up in smoke"

Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 19:45:47-05

PORTLAND, Texas — A massive fire destroyed a Portland home Tuesday night and for the folks who lived there, it's a lot more than just a property loss.

Bruce and Cheri Collier owned their home on Grace Drive for nearly 40 years.

Don Mayo is the brother-in-law of the Colliers and was at the scene.

"It's a pretty helpless feeling," Mayo said. " You just stand here and watch it burn.

"I mean they've been in the house I think they said 36 or 37 years and it's a lifetime of stuff going up in smoke."

Two people were in the house at the time of the fire, Bruce and his older brother, Tommy, who is handicapped.

Cheri Collier was not home at the time of the fire.

"They lost their two dogs, Tara and Tyson. So that's really been the biggest thing for them right now. " Mayo said.

"He was in the garage working on a lawn mower. He said he turned around and could see into the house. It was already on fire. He went in and took Tommy out, pulled him out through the garage."

A family member says the fire may have started above the kitchen where the furnace was but the Portland Fire Department is still working to confirm the cause.

Firefighters and family members were in and out of the home all day salvaging what they could. That includes some family heirlooms.

A Go Fund Me has been started by Bruce and Cheri's granddaughter. For more information, click here.

There has also been an account set up by the family at Frost Bank in Portland at 500 West Broadway. The account is called Collier Family Benefit Fund.