Three people in Courtenay escaped with only the clothes on their backs after a fire ripped through their home early Tuesday morning.

The blaze was reported by people passing by the home at around 3:40 a.m. who pounded on the front door to notify those inside.

Three people got out safely, but a man who is friends with the people renting the home said the fire left them with nothing.

“They’re taking it pretty hard. Now they’ve got no place to live, they’ve got no clothes, no nothing. They’re hooped,” said Micheal Snyder. “They didn’t have much. They had things that you go day-to-day with, right? A coffee maker, his Xbox, his computer with all the photos of his kid as he was growing up. Their life. Everything that you have in your house is now gone.”

Firefighters said tackling the blaze, which is believed to have sparked in the carport, was difficult.

“It was tricky once it got up into the attic space,” said Courtenay Fire Dept. Acting Chief Kurt MacDonald. “Pretty much it burned out through the soffits in the carport area, got up into the attic which was a challenger for our firefighters to extinguish.”

Mounties and fire investigators remained on scene throughout the day Tuesday, focusing on the carport area. A restoration crew was also at the home in the afternoon surveying the damage and a destroyed vehicle.

Fire crews told CTV News the fire appeared to be suspicious, but police haven't confirmed that.

Snyder said he believes it was sparked intentionally.

“Totally suspicious fire,” he said. “I heard that there was a strip of fire going up the driveway that was actually lit up, looked like somebody had maybe taken some gas to it.”

Friends of those displaced by the fire have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help.

Comox Valley RCMP are asking anyone who may have seen something in the area around the time the fire broke out to call them at 250-338-1321.