A fire in Barrie's south end last night forced a number of people to have to look for another place to sleep.

The fire happened during the super hour Dec. 10 and started as a car fire. But it didn't take long for it to intensify and spread to neighbouring town homes.

Investigators say the fire may have started in a Chevrolet Malibu that was parked inside the garage of a townhome on Brucker Road. It may have caught fire just minutes after the owner got home.

The flames and smoke quickly spread throughout the entire home and then to two neighbouring units. It took more than 20 firefighters and an aerial ladder truck to get the fire under control.

It’s unclear what caused the car to catch fire.

Deputy Fire Chief Rick Monkman says the driver “had technical problems with the car and he parked it in the garage and a few minutes later he found the house on fire.”

“All we know is that there was a mechanical problem with the car,” Monkman says.

Everyone managed to leave their homes and there were no injuries. One of the two neighbouring units suffered extensive fire damage and there was smoke damage to the other. Damage is estimated at about $200,000.

Three families have been displaced by the fire.