Fire Marshal Clyde Ellis called the two-story Stanley Street house fire "under control" late Saturday afternoon but said Ardmore firefighters remained on the scene.

"Firefighters will be here (1102 Stanley St.) all night putting out hot spots, and due to the amount of debris, will probably will be returning for the next three or four days to take care of hot spots," Ellis said.

Occupants of the house reported the blaze about 1:15 p.m.

"When firefighters arrived on scene it was about 30 percent engulfed. It quickly spread engulfing both floors," Ellis said, adding that Scott Richards, AFD shift commander, immediately called for reinforcements. "All firefighters who could get here were called in — some to come to the scene and others to cover anything else that might come in. Ice (road conditions) did hamper arrival."

Billowing black smoke spreading across the sky drew an audience of bystanders.

Luckily the occupants of the home escaped the growing blaze without injury.

The path of the fire

"The owner said they smelled smoke and saw smoke coming from the floor vents," Richards said.

Calling the blaze a "rapid build up," he said, "We assume the fire started in the basement, got in the walls and climbed to the second floor before the occupants even knew the house was on fire."

Richards explained several "interior attack" attempts were made. The last one could have been deadly.

"We had firefighters inside on the second floor when there was a flash over," he said. "We were lucky — they all got out."

Within minutes the second floor collapsed onto the main floor of the house.

Richards said the "fire below and fire above" was just one of the highly unusual elements firefighters contended with in the battle against the inferno. No firefighter injuries were reported as a result of initial warfare against the flames.

The cause of the blaze

Richards said based on what the homeowner told firefighters his family noticed it appears the fire started in the basement. However, without evidence or how and why the fire started the cause of the fire is pure conjecture at this point. And Ellis said, the extensive damage caused by the flames will further hamper the investigation into the cause.

"We're not sure now and we might not ever know what caused it due to the collapse of the structure and the amount of debris," Ellis said.