A family who only hours earlier saw their home go up in flames after a wood heater sparked a fire has thanked CFA crews and neighbours who came rushing to their aid.
CFA crews were called to a property on Alkera Road in Invermay following reports the blaze had broken out in the lounge room of the recently built home about 7am yesterday.
Graeme Wright, whose son Tim lives in the home with his wife and two young children, said the family managed to get out of the house as smoke billowed into the sky.
“I’d like to thank the fire brigade who’ve done a magnificent job in saving what they could,” he said at the scene.
“The local neighbours have also done a great job and everyone who was involved – they’ve done a great job – everyone involved.”
Firefighters attacked the blaze externally before making their way inside, bringing it under control within 30 minutes.
Tim Wright said he was on his exercise bike when his wife yelled out “the house is on fire” as smoke began to blanket the rooms.
They ran outside with their two young children before dialling triple-0.
“I could hear the sound of the fire, the cracking,” he said.
“There was a lot of smoke.”
CFA investigators said a wood heater in the lounge room was believed to have sparked the fire.
The house sustained extensive damage but the blaze was extinguished before any walls collapsed.
CFA firefighters praised Mr Wright and his family for having installed working smoke alarms.
Winter is the busiest time of the year for house fires, with the likelihood of incidents increasing by more than 20 per cent as homeowners turn their heaters on to beat the chill.
The incident in Invermay comes only days after a fire broke out in a house on Creswick-Newstead Road in Smeaton early on Sunday morning. Investigators were looking into whether an electrical fault was to blame for that blaze.
Police said it was not being treated as suspicious and no residents were at home during the incident.
“It was well alight,” officers said. On average, there are 3000 house fires across Victoria every year.
People are four times more likely to die in a residential fire than people with working smoke alarms installed like the Wright family, according to the CFA.