A family home in Kitchener was heavily damaged after a fire broke out on Feb. 5, 2020. (Matt Ethier / CTV News)

“It just happened so fast.”

Rana Korousic says her elderly father was alone inside his Blackhorne Crescent home when a fire broke out around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

When a neighbour saw the smoke, they rushed over to make sure he got out safely.

“I'm so grateful they were able to help him get out of the home before it filled with smoke,” says Korousic. “It was quick and devastating to watch. When you can’t do anything about it but just watch it go down, it’s just hard.”

Officials believe the fire started in the home’s basement.

While not much damage can be seen from the outside, firefighters says the inside has been gutted.

"There were no windows to ventilate to get the heat out, so they were fighting the heat and no visibility. We had a bit of a challenge to find the fire, but we persevered and got it done," said Blake Moggy, assistant platoon chief with the Kitchener Fire Department.

Damage is expected to exceed $500,000.

The exact source of the fire is still under investigation.