Family’s lucky escape

A SWAN Hill family had a lucky escape after they awoke to find their house ablaze early Wednesday morning.

Swan Hill firefighters responded to reports of smoke billowing from a Thurla Street home just before 7am, their second call of the morning after supporting the Lake Boga brigade to extinguish a grass fire about 3am.

Swan Hill CFA captain Dennis Turner said no one was injured in the incident, but the home was destroyed in the fire.

"It was a very lucky escape for the occupants of the house," capt Turner told The Guardian.

"Smoke alarms were operating in the house, but someone walking past saw the smoke, and reported it to the fire brigade.

"It's a loss for the family, the back end of the house was completely destroyed and the rest of the house was significantly smoke and heat damaged."

Capt Turner said the cause of the fire had been identified as a faulty heater in the rear room.

"The family wasn't using it for heating purposes," he said.

"It was a very lucky escape, they were fairly shocked to wake up to the house on fire, so the smoke alarms were a good thing."

Capt Turner said three trucks and around 15 volunteers attended the call.

He added firefighters had a busy morning, with the Lake Boga and Swan Hill brigades working together to tackle a grass fire.

"It was our second job of the morning, we went out to assist Lake Boga at 3am this morning on Ridge Road at Tresco," he said.

"A power line failed and fell to the ground, the fire was reported by Powercor crews."

Capt Turner said brigades controlled the blaze fairly quickly, but added it could have been worse had conditions been less favourable.

"Lucky it wasn't a windy night, considering how dry the grass is," he said.

He added with the fire danger period for the Mallee fast approaching, residents were urged to act appropriately to ensure the safety of themselves and their properties.

"People need to heed what is happening this year with the dry conditions we have got, the bit of wind we have had for the last few days and could have again over the weekend," he said.

"Fire restrictions are not far off, people need to plan what they are doing with the fuel reduction, burn it or plough it.

"And I strongly urge people if they are burning off to register fires and look at weather conditions for the day of and the days afterwards."

Capt Turner said there had been "quite a few re-lights" across the state, where people have conducted a burn-off, which has reignited in the days following, assisted by warm and windy days.

"Anyone doing burn offs need to monitor them in the days after, and they need to have the means to put it out if it does re-light," he said.

"There have been quite a few re-lights, it's a trend that is continuing to happen and people need to be aware of that.

"There is no significant rain forecast for the next few weeks, things are going to dry out even more.

"If you don't need to burn it, don't burn it, plough and slash it."