The corner house, 2001 Grant, was a total loss, while the next door house at 2005 Grant sustained fire damage to its attic and water damage elsewhere.
Both houses were one-story frame homes and no one was home at either when firemen arrived at 2:20 p.m., said Capt. Brian Storey of the Portsmouth Fire Department. It was 8:40 p.m. by the time all firefighters had returned to the station, Storey said.
The house at 2001 is owned by Forest Malone and rented by Jesse Bradley and Amanda Setty, while the one at 2005 is owned by Neal Hatcher and rented by Shirley Stout.
Stout was able to return to her home after the fire was extinguished.
"We had managed to get salvage covers on the furniture," Storey said.
He said the house at 2001 was fully involved when firefighters arrived and will no doubt be razed.
They concentrated on keeping the fire from spreading in the 2005 house, which stands just a few feet from the one that was destroyed.
The fire remains under investigation by Bob Long, arson investigator.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.