A KATAMATITE footballer left his preliminary final on Saturday after news his house was ablaze.
Mark Brown returned to find flames had engulfed his Kamarooka Street house in Barooga.
Tocumwal Sen-Constable Ben Tatton said an investigation found the fire was caused by a tealight candle burning inside the unoccupied house.
A passing motorist saw the flames and called triple-0 about 12.30pm.
A Rural Fire Service spokesman said the house was fully alight when crews arrived.
Five fire trucks were on scene for three hours, including from the Barooga RFS, CFA Cobram and Fire Rescue NSW.
Sen-Constable Tatton said the incident was a timely reminder to all residents to make sure candles were out before leaving home.
It is believed Mr Brown left his reserve grade preliminary final after hearing the news.
Mr Brown’s team, Katamatite lost to Shepparton East by 17 points.