Efforts to douse a house fire in Surrey overnight were momentarily delayed after crews learned there was live ammunition in the home.

The blaze is believed to have started in the kitchen of a two-floor townhouse in The Village, a wood frame complex on 102A Avenue, before spreading upward into the attic.

That could have posed a serious problem because the ammunition in the home was being stored upstairs. Fortunately, one of the people who lived there made sure to alert firefighters about the potential hazard.

"The resident was smart enough to tell us fairly quick that he did have rounds of ammunition upstairs. He's a gun collector and he did warn us about that," Acting Battalion Chief Spiro Pegios said.

"As soon as we found that out, we pulled the crews back and changed our plans a little bit."

Firefighters were still able to extinguish the fire before it spread to any of the other units in the complex, though a nearby car port was damaged.

Neighbours said the residents of the townhouse are a man and daughter who had lived there for decades. They are insured, but lost everything in the flames.

Pegios said they both escaped without injuries, though they might have suffered some smoke inhalation.

The cause is still under investigation, but firefighters said the initial indications are that it was a cooking fire that got out of control.

With files from CTV Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim