A FATHER tried in vain to save his family’s home with a garden hose after being woken by smoke alarms.
About 4.30am on Tuesday, Kevin Spendier was roused by the piercing noise.
“I heard the sound of the alarms and I looked out the window and there was just this orange glow – I jumped out of bed and went downstairs,” he said.
“I could see the glow coming out of the edge of plaster lining and I could see fire in all the cavities.”
After urging his partner Helen Scott and children Joe, 15, and Annabel, 13, to flee, Mr Spendier ran outside and attempted to tackle the blaze ripping through his home at Markwood, south-east of Wangaratta.
“The first hose I tried had melted off and I raced to the second tap and it was doing nothing,” he said.
“Trying to grab the house hose to address that fire was futile.”
Twenty minutes after the triple-0 call, firefighters from Bobinwarrah, Carboor, Everton, Milawa and Whorouly arrived at the property which is on a hillside in the Henley Ridge estate overlooking the Ovens Valley.
CFA district 23 operations officer Trevor Logan said the 30-square, split-level home could not be saved with crews battling to stop the fire spreading to surrounds.
“Without smoke alarms it could have been far different circumstances because when the dad was awoken he said it was pretty hot,” Mr Logan said.
The fire was fanned by a breeze pushing up the hill which resulted in a plastic water tank melting.
In addition to the parents and children, pet dogs, Tolly the huskie and Christie the kelpie, were inside at the time of the blaze.
Both initially escaped the inferno, but Tolly had since gone missing with the family putting an alert on Facebook.
Neighbours were quick to help the family with a nearby holiday home provided, a car loaned and cash provided.
Mr Spendier, Ms Scott and their children had moved to the property four years ago from Albert Park in Melbourne.
They have owned the block, known as Shepherd’s View, for 15 years, with it rented to holidaymakers before their move.
It slept up to 14 people with four bedrooms.
The fire is not suspicious but its cause is still being investigated with initial CFA efforts hampered by the heat and debris.
Mr Logan said investigators were likely to be still on the scene on Wednesday as they determined the cause.
Mr Spendier went to bed about 10.30pm Monday.
At the time the house’s Coonara wood heater had a few logs, but was not stoked up, he said.
Mr Spendier said the family planned to rebuild the home which had views across to Mount Buffalo.
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