Fire officials are investigating after a massive house fire that spread to two homes forced three families to scramble to safety first thing Monday morning.

Crews were called to the homes near 41 Street and 29 Avenue at about 1:30 a.m. Monday – neighbours and the residents of the homes woke up to the sounds of flames and breaking glass.

“When I ran out in the front and saw the fire in the front, and it was coming in the house like crazy and then I quickly ran into my daughters’ two rooms,” Homeowner Mohammed Atique said. “I knocked on their doors and told them to get out of the house because there’s a fire.”

The Atique family, and a family friend who was staying with them, named Erik Nielsen, managed to escape safely, as did the family living in the basement, and another family in the house next door.

Thirteen people in total escaped, and the fire spread from one home to two – both were extensively damaged.

"The one home has very extensive damage," said EFR District Chief Dennis Hushagen at the scene. "The other home, the extension is on the siding of course, from there it went up into the soffits and got into the attic space. Crews made an aggressive interior attack on that home."

No one was injured, although a cat was unaccounted for.

The Red Cross is providing temporary help to one of the families, the Atique family is staying with relatives.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation; it’s not being treated as suspicious, although investigators called in a Canine Accelerant Detection Unit to help comb through evidence.

Damages have been pegged at $1.2 million.

With files from Laura Tupper