An early morning house fire in Riverview, N.B., means its residents are facing an uncertain future.

As an excavator tore through what's left of the home on Hillsborough Road and firefighters put out the last of the flames the house burned to the ground.

"It's a total loss," said owner Mark Richard, who woke up to the fire around 6:30 this morning.

"It was really hot," Richard said. "I opened the window for just a second and the second I did I heard this 'boom!'"

Fire crews arrived on scene shortly after to put out the flames from the outside.

"The fire, we indicated, got into the floor rafters, so if we were to walk on the rafters, them being burnt, there's a risk of firefighters falling into the floor into the basement," said Riverview fire chief Denis Pleau.

It was too dangerous to attack from the inside.

"Going through the living room to get out the front door, the floor was sizzling hot," Richard said.

Eight people were living in the apartment style home. Richard says he left with nothing but the clothes on his back.

"I just got out," Richard said. "I went out with nothing. I was out there running around in my underwear."

Behind the burnt walls was a home full of history.

"It actually has a bit of history to the town," Pleau said. "It belonged to a family called the Northrops. So there's some plaques and stuff on the walls that were going to recover, for the family."

The regional fire marshall was on scene to inspect the debris.

Tenants are now being put up in a hotel by the Red Cross.

Richard says he's still in shock watching his home turn to ashes. He also says it wasn't insured.

"I just want to cry," Richard said.

As for the cause of the fire, that has yet to be determined.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kate Walker.