Woman dead but children safe after Mount Helen house fire

POLICE are still investigating the cause of a house fire in Mount Helen that killed a woman on Friday morning.

Police originally feared three people may have perished in the fire on Greenhill Road, but the woman's children have since been accounted for.

The fire is being treated as non-suspicious.

Police said on Sunday statements had been collected from all witnesses and police have prepared a brief for the coroner.

Neighbours notified police and the CFA after hearing an explosion and seeing flames at the house just before 1.30am on Friday.

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The CFA extinguished the fire, but the house was completely destroyed.

Neighbours said the mother moved into the home with two of her children last weekend.

It is believed she has a third adult child who did not live at the Mount Helen home.

Two dogs were also found dead at the scene.

CFA duty officer Kade Dowie told The Courier it appeared the fire might have started in the living room, but he could not be sure.

A coroner's report was delayed after forensics could not enter the structure as the roof was unstable for most of the morning.

The owners of the rental home were notified and attended the scene on Friday morning.

Several road blocks remained in place on Greenhill Road throughout the day.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Hermit described the incident as a "tragedy".

Arson Squad Sergeant Mark Chapman told The Courier police had to wait to get into the building until it was deemed structurally sound.

A coroner’s report was delayed after forensics could not enter the structure as the roof was unstable for most of the morning.

The body was removed from the premises just after midday.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

CFA Duty Officer Kade Dowie said suspicious activity had not been ruled out, however it was not a primary focus.

Mr Dowie said it appeared the fire may have started in the living room, but he could not be sure.

He said loud explosions were not uncommon in house fires as general household appliances including aerosol cans could explode.

Five fire crews attacked the fire externally, according to Ballarat City Senior Station Officer Neville Collins.

A police helicopter arrived on scene to take aerial photographs of the scene just after 12pm.

The family of the woman did not wish to make a statement.