A Melbourne family has been left without a roof over their heads after chips cooking on a stove sparked a fire that tore through their home.
The Watsonia family had been frying chips just before midnight when the oil caught alight, spilling onto the carpet and igniting their home.
Without a working smoke alarm it could have been much worse, but incredibly the four adults and a small child were able to flee their home just in time.
Dressed in their pyjamas, the family watched from the street as their double storey house was destroyed.
At the height of the blaze the flames leapt above the roof of the home.
Neighbours rushed to use garden hoses to try to protect their own properties.
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“All of a sudden I thought ‘Oh my God, It’s going to explode. I’ve got to go wake up my family’,” neighbour Des Smirnis told Seven News.
“I just wanted to see the family was okay and my mum was getting them some water and we were just helping them out - just getting some water and things because they lost everything.”
Melbourne Fire Brigade’s Garry Cronin warned against the dangers of leaving cooking unattended.
"The cause of the fire was a result of the occupier cooking some chips and went away and left them unattended, and of course the oil caught fire and spread the fire through the house," he said.
“So it's a timely warning that everyone should take care when cooking, especially at night."
Thanks to fire crews, Mr Cronin said the blaze was brought under control in about 30 minutes.
The owners of the home have been left with a damage bill of half a million dollars. The property will now need to be demolished due to suspected asbestos in the ceiling.
The family spent the day searching for their cats, which escaped during the inferno.