A good Samaritan came to the rescue of two boys who were inside a burning house Sunday night in St. Thomas.

The boys, 10 and 13, were downstairs while the fire was on the second floor of the home at 187 Wellington Street.

St. Thomas chief fire prevention officer, Bill Todd, says a man going by the home noticed the fire and alerted the children. It was a neighbour.

“They weren’t aware of the fire. They were evacuated by the passerby,” he says.

Todd says the department is thankful the man was able to prevent a possible tragedy.

“Certainly passer-bys can make a difference. It worked out well.”

The father of the boys, Blain Colquhoun, who is estranged from their mother, is seeking answers.

"I’m really upset and I’m very worried about them," he says. "It was a really bad fire. I’m so frightened they were left alone when something like this broke out."

Todd says crews responded to the scene about 8:30 p.m.

“There was heavy smoke coming from the second-storey windows. Flames were shooting through the roof.”

He says there was extensive damage to the home, pegged at more than $100,000, but nobody was injured.

The origin of the fire and a cause are not known at this time and an investigation is under way.

But he says it is not considered suspicious.

Firefighters say the family did not have insurance so the boys' school is collecting donations, such as of clothing, gift cards furniture, Christmas toys and groceries.

"We’re trying our best to gather as many donations as we can," says Jason Schouten, principal at St. Thomas Christian School.

"The students are pretty shaken. Hopefully we can come together and turn it into a positive."

The items can be dropped off at the school on Fairview Avenue or by calling the school at 519-633-0690.