Mortlake Dispatch
Evening feed ignites blaze

A GLENORMISTON man was lucky to escape a fire which destroyed his daughter’s home in the early hours of last Friday morning.

Mortlake Police Acting Sergeant Paul McLean said the single male occupant discovered the fire at about 4.50am.

“He was awoken by a smoke alarm,” he said.

“He went into the kitchen and lounge room area and found it fully engulfed in flames.”

The male’s mobile phone was within the affected room, so he fled the house to alert his neighbours, who made the initial emergency call.

Actg Sgt McLean said a Victoria Police arson chemist and fire investigators determined the man had forgotten to turn off the electric stove top before going to bed.

“It was found that the occupant had cooked a steak and left the pan on the electric stove top and still turned on,” he said.

“After eating dinner, he fell asleep on the couch, woke up at about 9pm and went to bed.”

The fire burnt for a long time before setting off the fire alarm, due to the door connecting the bedrooms to the kitchen area being only slightly ajar.

Actg Sgt McLean said eight Country Fire Authority (CFA) units attended the scene, including the aerial Warrnambool pumper.

“Local CFA units responded extremely quickly – within 12 minutes,” he said.

“The house was fully engulfed in flames and the units executed a fire attack plan.”

Firefighters worked to control the blaze for about an hour, with the entire roof and the majority of the internal structure destroyed.

Actg Sgt McLean said the male occupant was lucky to hear the smoke alarm and escape the house unharmed.

“Unfortunately, the house was destroyed,” he said.

“This is a great fire safety message and a timely reminder to ensure your smoke alarm is in working order and to evaluate your own fire safety plans.

“Smoke detectors do save lives. As a safety measure, leaving doors open that lead to a smoke detector will ensure it activates as soon as a fire starts.”

The attending CFA units included Bookaar, Noorat, Terang, Camperdown, Mortlake, Wooriwyrite and Glenormiston North.