A fire has destroyed three homes in Devon southwest of Edmonton this morning.

The fire began at around 7:30 after an explosion, said neighbour Norman Milson, who lives across the street. 

Three or four children and their mother ran from the home, he said.

Both houses on either side of the home also caught fire, he said.

Devon Mayor Stephen Lindop was at the fire and couldn't believe how intense the heat was. 

Devon fire

A massive fire in a Devon, Alta., neighbourhood southwest of Edmonton destroyed three homes Thursday. (Courtesy: Andrew Tatiana Boitchenko)

"I've talked with ... the renter of the initial home and he was actually at work in Nisku," he said. He got called and he didn't believe his house was on fire. We had to convince him to go home." 

The noise of the fire woke up the family and they were able to get out, he said.

The family had no tenant insurance, Lindop said.

The town has organized a donation drive to help the family and the occupants of the other two homes that were destroyed, he said.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, but the town will be setting up a help centre.