Firefighters were called to deal with a large blaze that caused one home to collapse and damaged two others on Thornhill Place in Waterloo early Thursday morning.

Crews were called to scene shortly after 7 a.m. as the fire tore through the homes in the new development.

Northbound lanes on Ira Needles Boulevard between University Avenue and Erb Street were closed for several hours as a result of the fire.

One home under construction was destroyed by the blaze, while a home next door, which was about 90 per cent complete, was heavily damaged.

A third home, already occupied by a young family was also damaged by the heat, smoke and water, but those inside got out safely.

Monwar Rahman and his wife and child were asleep when he says they heard someone pounding on their door.

“We came out of the house and there was the cops all around, they were asking, ‘Come, come out, come out.”

Wife Fiona Rahman adds “So we just came out however we were and I just kept thinking it would have taken a few minutes for our house to catch fire and we would have been asleep.”

The family is very thankful that everyone was able to get out safely and the Red Cross is helping them find temporary accommodations.

Richard Hepditch, assistant deputy chief with Waterloo Fire, says “Our focus was the occupied home with the family and for them to be evacuated and to work that fire back to protect the home was a significant priority, as well as the other homes to the best of our ability.”

Fire prevention officers and Waterloo Region police detectives are working together to determine the cause of the fire.

Police are calling the blaze suspicious and asking anyone with information to contact them.

Waterloo Regional Police Det.-Sgt. Shawn Mundell says “At this point we keep all of our options open, but we certainly will be looking into any suspicious activity that we can find.”

Homes in the area have reportedly been selling for well over $400,000 and damage to the three homes is estimated at $700,000.