A Waterloo Region foster care agency has to relocate three people on short notice after their home was destroyed by fire.

Firefighters responded to the house fire on Snyders Road East between Baden and Petersburg at about 1:40 p.m. Thursday.

The building was owned by Morningstar Family Ministries, an organization which provides foster care for children.

Morningstar has an office next door to the home, but executive director Carmen Ferber says nobody heard or saw the fire at first.

“A passerby spotted the fire, called 911 and came running in to tell us about it,” she tells CTV.

“That was the first that we heard.”

Two teenagers with special needs and their foster mother were living in the building, but were not home at the time of the fire.

The family is staying in a hotel for now, but Ferber says the agency has located a home that will be suitable once it is properly equipped for the children.

The family may get their new home in 2-3 weeks, but nearly all of their possessions were completely wiped out by the fire.

“Our first priority is making sure these children are looked after and taken care of at this time. They did lose their Christmas gifts and all their belongings,” says Ferber.

Crews from Baden and New Hamburg were called to the fire first, but due to a need for water and cold conditions causing hoses to freeze, tankers were later brought in from Kitchener, Waterloo and St. Clements. More than 30 firefighters were at the scene.

Officials were back on scene Friday to assess the damage and investigate the cause of the fire. Wilmot fire chief John Ritz says the fire isn't believed to be suspicious, but the investigation won't continue to determine a specific cause beyond that.

"We've currently completed our investigation as far as it can go. The structure is unsafe for us to enter and it will need to be demolished," he says.

"We'll be listing the cause as undetermined."

Damage is estimated at $465,000.