An East Vancouver house has been seriously damaged by flames, after it caught fire just hours after 2016 began.

The fire started some time a little before 4 a.m., Friday, at 1138 Lily St. Officials had originally reported the address as 1130 Lily Street.

32 firefighters were called to the second-alarm fire, according to Battallion Chief David Laberge with Vancouver Fire and Rescue.

When they arrived at the house, they discovered flames visible on all sides, with huge flames spitting out the rear of the house, which was vacant and undergoing renovations at the time.

"It was a tough one to fight because of the narrow streets," said Laberge. "The laneway — there's difficulty getting access to the lane, the houses are very close together."

Vancouver Lily St. fire

A Vancouver firefighter rushes to get a hose to the rear of a burning house, early Friday morning. (CBC)

Laberge said there was a serious risk that the fire would spread to the houses on both sides, but the neighbours were able to make it safely outside.

"The officers and the crews did an excellent job saving both those houses on each side," he said.

"We're not sure how it started. It was in the rear of the house," said Laberge. "I haven't seen the back — most of the damage was at the rear of the house."

Laberge said a fire investigator would work to determine the cause of the fire.

Vancouver Lily St. fire

Vancouver fire crews pack up equipment after a fire tore through a vacant house, early Friday morning. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)