PORTSMOUTH - Fire damaged a Portsmouth store early Friday.

Crews saw a lot of smoke coming from P-Town Thrift on Turnpike Road around 5:30 a.m.

Owner Jim Klingensmith said he stayed at his store because he closed late Thursday. He said he heard a loud pop at the front of the store around 5:00 a.m. and then saw the cash register and front counter area in flames.

After calling for help, he grabbed an outside water hose to douse the flames until firefighters arrived.

Battalion Chief Danny Miller said the store's sprinklers activated, which kept the fire from spreading. He said most of the damage was from the water.

Klingensmith said the water damaged most of merchandise in the front of store, but the main damage was to the store's electrical system. He says it'll cost thousands of dollars to fix.

He added he lost about $1,000 in cash in the fire.

Klingensmith was a teacher and coach in Portsmouth schools. He opened P-Town Thrift with his daughter after retiring 13 years ago.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The onramp to I-264 West at Portsmouth Blvd. was closed for the firefight, but it reopened around 7:00 a.m., in time for the morning rush.

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