Four people are displaced after a fire destroyed one home and damaged another in central Ottawa Saturday night.

Ottawa fire crews said they were called to 128 Hopewell Avenue near Carleton University around 7:45 p.m., where a tree fire had spread into the house.

"We responded initially to a working fire, a house fully involved, it spread to a second house,” said deputy fire chief Dave Cranidge,

“Certainly in these older areas we have problems with hydro lines, we had to get the hydro shut down so we could get our ladders up."

Area residents said they took it upon themselves to help stop it from spreading.

“I got my wife to take the kid and stuff out of the house and move the car, I turned the hoses on and started wetting everything down," said John Loop. "Everyone was out there with their hoses on, we had neighbours across the street that came by, I brought my extra hose in helped me water down.

“Then when the firefighters came, we knocked a fence down for them . . . everyone kinda pitched in."

About 30 homes in the area were evacuated because of smoke, but all were able to return by 11 p.m.

Neighbours said a mother and her 12-year-old daughter who lived in the gutted home got out as it started burning,

"She grabbed her cat, her laptop, her purse and basically high-tailed it out of the house," said Jason Dowel.

Power and gas were cut off to the area as hydro lines were draped over the house and the road.

There was an estimated $700,000 in damage to both houses and $300,000 damage to their contents, with one firefighters and one civilian treated by paramedics.

Investigators said they suspect it was started by a grass fire from a cigarette that spread to the tree, then one of the homes.

A Facebook page and Twitter account have been set up to raise money for the victims.

With reports from CTV Ottawa’s Claudia Cautillo and Katie Griffin