Disused old house burns at Huon Hill

An old homestead near the Huon Hill lookout was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Thursday morning in suspicious circumstances.

The abandoned house on Kenneth Watson Drive in Bandiana went up in flames at 1.15am before firefighters arrived and extinguished what was left.

Detective Senior Constable Justin Foots said an arson chemist unit from Melbourne investigated the scene of the fire on Thursday afternoon, but the completely gutted remains made it difficult to figure out exactly how it started.

“It was quite substantially damaged, the arson chemist will prepare a report,” he said.

“It remains a suspicious fire, but the cause will not be know until we see that report.”

DESTROYED: The old homestead burnt to the ground. Picture: DAVID BROWN

DESTROYED: The old homestead burnt to the ground. Picture: DAVID BROWN

Police checked underneath the fallen tin panels to confirm there were no squatters injured from the fire.

Detective Foots said they had spoken to numerous witnesses who saw cars in the area at the time and would continue to look into what happened.

Calls to triple zero were made by residents from across the hills during the night as people saw an “orange glow” somewhere in the distance, leaving firefighters to find the burning house.

CFA District 24 operations officer Brett Myers said the fire crews could not source water in Huon Hill Parklands so the trucks had to drive back and forth from the main road to keep up the water supply.

“As far as the structure goes, there was nothing that could be done,” he said.

BEFORE: The Kenneth Watson Drive home was captured by a photographer in recent weeks, showing the structure in disrepair. Picture: JAMES PARKER

BEFORE: The Kenneth Watson Drive home was captured by a photographer in recent weeks, showing the structure in disrepair. Picture: JAMES PARKER

The house had been abandoned and was seen to have smashed windows and holes in the walls in the weeks before the fire.

But it not always been that way.

Wodonga Cr John Watson said the homestead once belonged to his aunt and uncle, Christine and Bob Watson, and was where his cousins grew up.

It had been sold a long time ago, but Cr Watson said with the city’s hills being a focus for development, it could have been a structure to be used in the future.

“That could have been a gatekeeper’s house,” he said.

“It’s always disappointing to see an old landmark and that someone’s gone in there and willingly done that.”