A Cape Breton family says their lives have been turned upside down after a vehicle smashed into their home, causing significant damage.

“It tears at your heart, the devastation,” says Sydney resident James Delvecchio.

He says the vehicle plowed through a stop sign and struck the house, then hit two parked cars in the driveway and a neighbour’s fence.

“I was scared, not so much for my safety, but for my family’s,” says Delvecchio. “When I got outside and seen the damage and the bystanders were referring to the scene as a war zone because there was debris everywhere.”

Homeowner Carol Crawley says the man driving the car was allowed to leave the area, but she feels charges should be laid.

“I was just blown away because I was so upset,” says Crawley. “He just done all that damage. Why do you get to go home in your bed? I have nowhere to go.”

Police are releasing few details about the crash, but say they have ruled out drugs and alcohol as factors in the accident.

“It is an active, ongoing investigation,” says Cape Breton Regional Police spokesperson Desiree Vassallo. “Police are working with all parties involved to make sure everyone has the information they need.”

The family is living with relatives until they are allowed to return home.

“It tore our life apart and turned everything upside down and wondering from day-to-day what’s going to happen, if the house will be torn down, where are we going to live?” says Delvecchio.

“We could have lost one of our lives,” says Crawley. “If I wasn’t on the loveseat and I was on the couch, I could have been dead right now.”

A structural engineer has assessed the damage. The family says they will find out Friday if their home has to be torn down.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore