FIRE yesterday struck a Wodonga businessman for the second time in a little more than a month when a historic house just east of Albury went up in flames.
Shaun McKoy said he was far too upset to talk about the latest blaze.
It comes after fire caused $150,000 damage to an office at Mr McKoy’s Lincoln Causeway hotel renovation business, Dinosaur Bros, on February 9.
Mr McKoy had been renovating the 150-year-old Mount Pleasant, on the Riverina Highway near the Albury Airport, one of the oldest houses in the Albury area.
Firefighters were called to the house — once owned by former Albury mayor the late Jim Paterson — at 1.53pm.
A motorist raised the alarm after seeing smoke coming from the roof.
“The house was well alight when we got there – it’s devastating for the owners,” Albury Central station officer Dean Campbell said.
“It was being renovated. There was no one inside.
Mr Cambell said it appeared workers had left lights on in the roof cavity, sparking the fire that burned three-quarters of the roof.
Mr Campbell said the Rural Fire Service had done “a pretty fantastic job” in helping fight the blaze.
“The bottom half of the structure such as the walls have all been saved,” he said.
“The roof and the outside structure have severe damage.”
About 40 firefighters tackled the flames at their height.
The fire took about an hour to control and work continued to detect and dampen hot spots.
“At first we weren’t sure if it was a bushfire or a house fire,” Mr Campbell said.
“Rural Fire Service brought in a lot of tankers because it was thought water would be a fair issue,”
“But we had ample water through a fire hydrant across the road.
“We had to attack the core of the fire so everyone was outside until we could ascertain the structural integrity of the roof.
“Then we committed people inside to get the fire out.”
Mr Campbell said the ceiling had to be removed so firefighters could get water into the roof cavity.
“The nature of the roof made it hard to extinguish,” he said.
Mr Campbell said while the house was badly damaged, it would survive.
“I’m not a builder but I think they’ll be able to rebuild it,” he said.