Police and the St. John's Regional Fire Department are continuing an investigation into a fire at a house in the city's west end on Sunday, but people close to the homeowner are suspicious about what happened.

The fire happened at a house on George's Pond Road, a gravel stretch that runs uphill from Blackmarsh Road into an isolated area.

A cluster of homes at the end of the road are owned by an extended family.

One of the homeowners was out of town when the fire started, but a family member who went by to check on the house noticed the door handle was hot and called police.

Police aren't speaking about what happened, but some family members suspect a break-in shortly before the fire.

One family member said a large number of possessions were missing, including two television sets and a new computer.

A bag containing materials taken from the house was found outside, leading to speculation that someone broke in and started the fire.

Police have advised the family not to speak to media while the investigation continues.

The owner is said to be devastated by the invasion of her home, and the death of her cat in the fire.