Officials say a fire that destroyed a Kitchener home Saturday was started by “smoking materials” which were improperly discarded.

Firefighters were called to Silver Aspen Crescent just after 2 p.m.

One witness told CTV that a neighbour ran over to help but stopped when one of the home’s windows blew out.

A man was taken to a Hamilton hospital with burns to the upper part of his body and a woman was treated for smoke inhalation.

Dave Emberlin, an investigator with the Ontario Fire Marshall’s office, says the fire started on a couch in the front living room.

The man had gone outside while the woman was sleeping in a back bedroom.

The flames had already spread by the time the man came back inside.

He yelled for the woman to wake up and began searching for his dog.

The woman jumped out of a back window.

According to officials the home did not have working smoke alarms.

“I don’t know why people don’t have working smoke alarms in their house,” said Emberlin. “They save lives.”

Had the man left the house, or not reentered as soon as he had, Emberlin says the fire could have been fatal.

“This house has no working smoke alarms. The screws are in the ceiling where it used to be. Someone has taken it down at some point and not put it back up. Had a smoke alarm been on the ceiling, both these people who were here would have been alerted long before the fire was actually discovered.”

Damage to the home is estimated at $300,000 and was so extensive it will have to be rebuilt.