Fire destroyed a house just outside the town of Millet, Alta., early Wednesday, leaving six residents with only the clothes they were wearing.
The fire was already through the roof of the home before firefighters were dispatched, said Capt. Trevor Palmer, with Millet's volunteer fire department.
"It had been burning for a while before we got there, which in the middle of the night can happen quite often," Palmer said Thursday.
The call came in at 2:09 a.m., he said.
Two cats missing
No one was injured.
Stacie Tetlock said she, her husband Spencer, her sister, her sister's fiance and her sister's two children all got out of the rented house safely.
Two dogs made it out but two cats are missing, Tetlock said.
"The cat ran under the bed when the fire happened," she said. "I'm hoping that they did leave."
Tetlock said her sister, her fiance and her two sons only moved into the house on Tuesday.
All of them lost everything in the fire, she said, including an urn containing her grandfathers' ashes.
"Thousands of dollars worth of everything," Tetlock said.
A Facebook post said a business in Millet is collecting donations for the family. A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the family and is close to meeting its $2,000 goal.
Tetlock said she's grateful to the community for the efforts being made to help her family.
"I think they're just so sweet," she said.
Palmer said firefighters began a defensive attack when they arrived.
"We call them surround and drowns — you drown the fire with water as much as you can to get it out," Palmer said.
Water tanker support was brought in from Wetaskiwin to help, Palmer said.
"The 15 [firefighters] who were on scene worked pretty much tirelessly for the four hours we were out there," he said.
Only the basement and walls were left charred and standing. The roof and contents were destroyed, said Palmer.
Major house fires are not common for Millet firefighters, he said.
"It's been actually about 18 months since we've had a residential structure fire with what I would call significant damage."
A week ago, the fire department responded to a fire that burned a dairy barn to the ground east of Millet.
Firefighters and the landowners were able to remove a large herd of cows from the barn unharmed.
Millet is 55 kilometres south of Edmonton.