Sebastopol house fire: family had luck on side 

A SEBASTOPOL house was badly damaged by what police believe was a suspicious fire early yesterday.

The Luth Street home caught fire about 1am and was fully alight when CFA units arrived at the scene.

However the occupants – a mother and her young son – were visiting other Luth Street residents at the time and escaped injury.

Detective Senior Constable Paul Jolly of the Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit said yesterday the home had been “pretty well damaged”, with an arson chemist coming from Melbourne to try to determine the fire’s cause.

A Luth Street resident, who did not wish to be named, said he saw the fire as it happened.

“There were mad flames and then the windows popped out,” the man said. “There were flames straight up in the air about 10 feet.”

He said the woman, who was renting the house, and her son had been visiting them, and the boy had intended sleeping over.

“We were all just here having a few drinks.”

However, he said he didn’t know where the pair was currently being housed. Ballarat police yesterday taped off the house in Luth Street, which runs behind Albert Street towards the Marty Busch Reserve.

A strong burning smell, blackened curtains, glassless windows and a few broken tiles could all be spotted at the scene yesterday, along with torn and blackened mesh above the carport. However, a small blow-up swimming pool and a car parked in the driveway escaped the blaze.

Two CFA units from Sebastopol attended the fire, along with one from Buninyong and one from Ballarat City.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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