A fire in north Edmonton has caused an estimated $300,000 in damages and put a family out of their home only days before Christmas.

Firefighters were called out to the blaze near 96th Street and 148th Avenue around 3:30 p.m. Saturday. When they arrived, smoke was billowing from the house.

District Chief John Bowers said the fire started in the basement.

At first, residents in the home attempted to fight the fire themselves but were unsuccessful, he said.

"By the time we arrived here, we have a fully enveloped basement fire. The guys got backed out of the basement twice and by then the floors got soft upstairs and we couldn't gain access to the building."

The fire then spread to the main floor and into the walls, Bowers said.

Firefighters battled heavy smoke and low visibility as they attempted to control the flames, prompting crews to cut open part of the roof to clear the air.

"At this time, the extent of the damage is huge. The basement is pretty much destroyed, the upstairs is the same – the floor joists are gone. It's a pretty bad situation for the house," said Bowers.

Both people who were in the house when the flames started managed to get out before fire crews arrived. Nobody was hurt.

Investigators said a candle near a couch sparked the blaze.