A family of four is homeless after a massive fire destroyed their dream home just one week before Christmas.

Flames erupted just after 3:45 a.m. at a home on Hedley Way off Dunrobin Rd. in Kanata on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. It took dozens of firefighters roughly 11 hours to put out the stubborn blaze.

The extreme cold, which hit -29 with the windchill at one point Friday, as well as the lack of hydrants in the area posed a challenge for firefighters.

"At - 30 and + 40 we are often concerned about the health and safety of the firefighters about the water supply," said Danielle Cardinal, the Public Information Officer with the Ottawa Fire Services. " At this location we are concerned with keeping the porta tanks filled, and ensuring the tankers can travel to and from the fire scene with that water."

The fire was so intense, the flames burst through the roof destroying the walls, and firefighters say the smoke could be seen from as far away as the 417 and March Road.

The family members made the initial 911 call after smelling smoke coming from their basement. All four family members safely evacuated the home. One firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Friends told CTV Ottawa the family is heart-broken and struggling to cope with what happened.

Neighbours described the family as a kind, sweet family with two twin 9-year-old boys who loved to play on the front lawn.

Nathalie Gunn lives across the street and watched as the fire ripped through the home.

"The first thing that caught our eye when we woke up was all the lights flashing everywhere," said Gunn. "It seemed so dark out but it was actually a whole bunch of dark smoke clouds coming in. Everyone was lined up down the street."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Damages have yet to be estimated, but the home appears to have been completely destroyed.

Ottawa Fire is reminding residents to check the batteries in their fire alarms, to inspect their fire extinguishers and to review their families’ emergency escape plan.