HOUSE ARSON FEARS: Fire razes home, haystack burns

Police and firefighters survey the damage at a Koroit home which was destroyed by a suspicious fire in the early hours of yesterday morning. 090115DW31 Picture: DAMIAN WHITEFIRE caused more than $150,000 worth of damage yesterday when a Koroit home and a Naringal haystack went up in flames.A Jongebloed Court house was guttered by fire early yesterday morning with police treating the incident as suspicious.The Country Fire Authority (CFA) arrived at the brick veneer house at 4.40am to find the property well alight.There were no people in the house at the time of the fire.It took 30 minutes for brigades from Koroit, Warrnambool and Woodford to contain the fire and damage to the property was estimated at $150,000.CFA duty officer David Ferguson said investigations were continuing into the cause of the blaze.”The house was extensively damaged by the time the blaze was contained,” Mr Ferguson said.Warrnambool Criminal Investigation Unit and Victoria Police forensic investigators sifted through the ashes of the gutted building yesterday. CFA Koroit brigade captain David Lumsden said the fire was easily contained after the alarm was raised before dawn.”It took us about half an hour to get it under control but it was completely gutted by the time that happened,” Mr Lumsden said.Ron Brittain, a Jongebloed Court resident of 30 years, said the fire engulfed the house in minutes. “I don’t know what first woke me up but I saw the flames from the window facing the fire and it just kept going,” he said.”It was over pretty quickly and the CFA got it under control in less than half an hour but from what I could see, the place was gutted.”Meanwhile, about 120 hay bales, worth almost $8000, were destroyed at a Naringal property in a blaze thought to have been started by spontaneous combustion.It is the first haystack fire of the summer season and the CFA has warned farmers to monitor their bales for overheating.CFA crews from Allansford, Warrnambool, Naringal and Mepunga attended the fire which started about 2pm.CFA Hopkins Curdies Group officer Kelvin Boyle said the stacks would be left to burn down but crews would monitor the fire until it was deemed safe to ensure it did not spread to surrounding properties.Mr Boyle said spontaneous combustion occurred when dampness and compression of the stack created heat and eventually produced a fire.Meanwhile, a house in Grant Street, Portland sustained smoke damage after a fire started behind a rangehood in the kitchen about 6.20pm last night, Sergeant Wayne Marsh of Portland police said. Also, about 6.40pm yesterday in Koroit, a power pole ignited on Staughtons Lane. CFA Region Five operations officer Mick Harris said two trucks attended the fire which spread briefly to nearby grass.
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This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.