A cigarette stubbed out in a flowerpot caused a fire that destroyed a home north of Montreal and damaged two other buildings. 

Neighbours of the house in Terrebonne said they heard an explosion shortly before the flames erupted.

"I went to the back to see what was making this big light, and I saw the flames in next door's backyard," said Souleymane Soro.

"No hesitation, I went inside and got my wife, got our children, and got out everything we wanted to save from the fire."

The fire began at a house on Elan St. near Laurier Blvd., around 10 p.m. Wednesday. By the time firefighters arrived the flames had spread throughout the building.

The owner of the house where the fire started said everyone was asleep when the fire began, but that he and the two other occupants escaped without any difficulty or injury.

They have, however, lost everything they own, and their cat is missing.

The heat and flames also damaged the two neighbouring buildings, and electricity has been cut off to one of those homes.  

The Red Cross provided overnight shelter for the ten people who had to leave their homes.

In their investigation into the cause, authorities determined that a cigarette had been stuck into a flowerpot filled with cedar mulch.

The ashes set fire to the plant and from there ignited propane tanks on the deck near the pot.

"While it's burning, the heat is going on the tank," said Terrebonne fire chief Jacques Berube. "THen the gas going out and it's not good for the fire."

This is the second time in two days that a smoker has accidentally caused a fire by thinking it was safe to extinguish a fire in a potted plant.

Earlier this week one man in Outremont suffered serious burns to his hands and feet after a cigarette tossed into a flowerpot on a building rooftop turned into a major fire.