Three people in Burnaby were able to make it safely out of their burning house early Wednesday morning, as firefighters rushed to douse the flames.

The fire began at the rear of the house in the 4200-block of Venables Street a little before 1 a.m.

Homeowner Albert Tremblett said he was sleeping when his wife smelled smoke and woke him up.

"When I went to the back room, everything was in flames at that point. I just threw a couple of buckets of water [but] I knew it was too late at that time," said Tremblett.

"The flames were really quite high and it was quite intense, the heat, so I just told everybody, my wife, my son, to get out of the house as quick as we could," said Tremblett.

"The smoke, I was inhaling it. It was just too strong."

Acting Assistant Chief Gavin Summers with the Burnaby Fire Department said his crews arrived to find huge flames spitting into the air at the rear of the house, where there was a carport storage area.

"The challenge is that there's propane tanks, barbecues for the firefighters upon arrival. It adds fuel to the fire and it also adds an element of danger of … exploding propane bottles," said Summers.

Burnaby house fire

Burnaby firefighters pick through debris and damaged property in a carport storage area after a house fire on Venables Street Wednesday morning. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"It was quite scary. I heard a bang, I think a propane — I think I have a barbecue back there — so something with the barbecue. And I heard an explosion and that was it," said Tremblett, who thought he was about to lose the house he had lived in for more than 30 years.

"I think [the firefighters] did a remarkable job. They were here in no time," he said.

Summers said the inside of the house sustained smoke damage, but the most significant damage was external and the home could be repaired.

He said there was nothing immediately suspicious about the fire, but added that it is under investigation.

Burnaby house fire

A captain with the Burnaby Fire Department stands in an alley as he instructs crews what to do over the radio. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)