Police are investigating the cause of a house fire in Smythesdale last night.
Excavation equipment was needed to stabilize the Anderson Street house after the fire, which caused extensive damage to the building's structure.
Detectives from Ballarat Crime Investigation Unit are assisting CFA fire investigators to determine the cause of the fire.
The CFA's Matt Gardiner said the fire erupted shortly before 8.40pm and four CFA units were called to assist.
He said the home was unoccupied and had suffered "significant damage".
"The house had to be stabilized using excavation equipment to make it safe," he said.
"We had to knock down walls and chimneys."