Seven CFA units fought a fire in Ballarat East that gutted a house on Thursday night.
The fire started soon after 5pm in a miner’s cottage on the corner of King Street South and Dodds Lane.
When firefighters arrived, the house was engulfed in flames.
Although the exterior is still standing, fire destroyed the interior and ripped through the roof.
CFA first lieutenant Mark Cartledge said the aerial platform truck was called in to remove shingles from the roof.
The cause was not determined but would be investigated by police, he said.
Mr Cartledge said no one was in the house at the time.
York Street and King Street South residents were advised to stay inside due to smoke.
Mr Cartledge said Powercor isolated the house from the grid to make it safe for firefighters.
Neighbour Lisa Paliaga, who has lived nearby for 15 years, said the vacant house had been a magnet for vagrants and trouble in the area.
“It has been lived in by squatters for over five years,” Ms Paliaga said. “I was waiting for the day it went up. Everyone in the neighbourhood was. It was always creating trouble in the neighbouring houses ... we had things stolen from cars.”
She said the abandoned house had attracted other undesirables, who used it to take drugs.
Melody Broomhall and her family were evacuated from an adjoining house.
“The CFA pulled us out because fumes were coming into our property,” Ms Broomhall said.