Sam Lehmann is facing a mounting financial burden after fire badly damaged his brand new home in Bonshaw last month.
Mr Lehmann was at work when his girlfriend Mikayla Meyer rang to say she and their housemate had fled after fire erupted at their Settlers Drive home about 2.45pm on August 11.
He had only moved into the newly built home in November last year.
But because of a slip-up with his insurance, Mr Lehmann was not covered and now faces a bill of around $50,000 for repairs to the house in addition to mortgage repayments and rent while his home is repaired.
Mr Lehmann believed he was insured as it was a condition of his home loan and, while he filled in the forms and was allocated a policy number, it appears the payment for the policy never came out of his bank account.
"I'm always on top of this stuff and I don't know how it slipped through. Maybe I was excited for the new house, my first house," he said.
"Even all my bills I'm all over it - I pay the full 12 months for everything."
Mr Lehmann said he couldn't believe what was happening when he received the call that he was not insured.
"Mikayla and another house mate of mine were home and they saw smoke coming through a vent. They rushed to the room where it started, in a bedroom. Mikayla saw the flame and went to get a hose but by that time it was too late, it had spread too much," Mr Lehmann said.
A window blew out in the fire and his housemate jumped out the window and went to the neighbours to get their children out of the house amid fears the fire would spread.
Firefighters from Sebastopol Fire Brigade and Fire Rescue Victoria quickly got the blaze under control - one witness said flames were at least 10 feet high at one stage.
The cause of the fire was deemed to be an electrical fault but because the bedroom was occupied the builder has said they cannot do anything to help fix the damage.
The fire badly damaged the roof and several internal walls and while they lost many possessions and appliances they are relieved the house was not destroyed.
IN OTHER NEWS
Mr Lehmann's employer Natures Cargo paid for a few days of accommodation immediately after the fire to give him a chance to find somewhere to live.
Ms Meyer has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the house repairs.
"I'm thinking I can do a lot of the stuff myself. I can plaster, a neighbour is an electrician and he can help rewire, then there's plumbing, and I will paint and tile and do the fixing," he said.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.