In Niagara Falls, 11 people are lucky to be alive after an intense fire ripped through a home this morning.The Niagara Falls Fire Department says the blaze was a challenge to control and caused over $500,000 worth of damage.The back of the home on Ailanthus Aveune is completely charred as fire fighters worked to extinguish the stubborn blaze.“I just saw the white smoke and the flames. You couldn’t even see down here it was so bad.”The blaze started at around 9 o’clock this morning.Neighbours say 11 people were in the house at the time of the fire. Sleeping. They were alerted by a knock on their door.Luckily everyone made it out safely. Some wrapped in blankets to keep warm.Niagara Falls Fire says this blaze was especially difficult because the home is a newer build.“The materials that we are using are starting to burn quicker, burning hotter. So that causes a real concern for the safety of the fire service.”Both houses on either side of the home were also damaged. Siding melting off from the intense heat.Lucas and Laura McKenzie who live next door, say there were some agonizing moments this morning, when they didnt know if the fire had spread to their home.“There was so much smoke I couldnt tell if my house was also on fire.”A neighbour also alerted them to the fire next door.“I couldnt believe it. I just looked in our backyard and saw smoke and ashes. Then the door was knocking and she said get out, you gotta go.”The owner of the home that went up in flames says she lives here with her family of 5 and was currently providing 6 college students with a place to stay while they found permanent accomodations.The owner of the home, who did not want to speak on camera, says the fire started on the back deck and says that the only things that were on the deck were garbage cans and recycling bins.Niagara Fire says, “Its going to need some extensive rebuild. Over $500,000 for sure, they wont be going back in there today.”Niagara Falls Fire Department says the exact cause of the blaze is unknown at this point. Provincial fire investigators have been called in because the damage is over $500,000.