Police and fire officials are searching the debris of a home destroyed by fire in Meaford early Thursday morning to see if anybody was inside.  

Three fire departments responded to the fire on Sideroad 6 in the Municipality of Meaford just after 3:30 a.m.

By the time crews got to the scene, the two-storey home was fully engulfed by flames.

Investigators believe an elderly woman was home at the time and have brought in a back hoe to try and find her.

“The house has collapsed so we are dealing with sharp objects such as glass and a lot of ice,” says Steven Klimpel with Ontario Fire Marshal’s office.  

Even the deep snow is posing issues but it is the ice and cold that is the biggest challenge. The extreme cold made it tricky for fire fighters – pumps, valves and even the fire trucks froze up.

Three fire departments and 35 fire fighters battled the fire, taking turns because of the conditions. Even getting water to the scene was difficult.

“The river we pulled water from when the guys found water was only rain water frozen above another layer of ice. It was just rain water from last week so we had to give up on that water hole,” says Intertownship Fire Department Chief Carl Linthorne.

Because of the remote location of the home, investigators still don’t know how long the house was burning before they got the call. It’s still not known what caused the fire or if there were working smoke alarms inside the house.

Sideroad 6 is closed between St. Vincent-Sydenham Townline and the 1st Concession for the investigation, which could take a couple of days.