Fire destroys Benalla home

FIRE destroyed a Benalla house this morning with firefighters spending a frantic hour trying to determine if anyone was home.

District 23 duty officer Paul Horton said brigades from Baddaginnie, Warrenbayne, Swanpool and Benalla were called at 6am to the house on Mansfield Road with a glow in the sky from the fire visible kilometres away.

Mr Horton said by the time firefighters arrived at 6.12am, the house had been destroyed.

He said a car was parked in the driveway and firefighters spent an hour searching for occupants before police were able to phone the residents.

"Thankfully, they'd left early to go to a swap meet at Whittlesea," Mr Horton said.

Mr Horton said the fire was not suspicious and investigators are at the still-smouldering scene trying to determine the cause.

He said the risk of house fire would only increase as the weather cools and he encouraged people to service their heaters and not overload power boards to avoid a tragedy.