A YOUNG Redan family came home to find their house gutted by fire and a street full of firefighters and police yesterday.
The smoke was so thick when fire crews arrived at the Bell Street blaze at 2.40pm they couldn’t see the house through it.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, said he was driving past and saw the house on fire.
He then kicked down the front door, but no-one was inside.
Ballarat City Fire Station senior station officer Mark Owen said the first crew on scene also did a sweep of the house and found no-one home.
Sixteen fire crews took 30 minutes to bring the aggressive blaze under control, using a thermal imaging camera to pinpoint the origin.
Mr Owen said the fire started in two rooms at the back of the house and extended up into the roof, causing smoke damage throughout.
The roof collapsed and the two back rooms were gutted, he said.
“Because of the metal roof we had trouble to gain access to the roof space and it was passing the heat back into the house,” he said.
“The house is no longer structurally integral.”
Ballarat Police acting sergeant Joel Dash said it was too early to determine the cause.
Police notified the residents, a young family, who were not home when the fire broke out.
They arrived on the scene shortly after to discover the damage.