Heater blamed for fatal Vic house fire

A 62-year-old disabled woman has died in a house fire in Melbourne's inner west

A portable heater sparked a house fire in Melbourne's inner west in which a disabled woman died, authorities say.

The 62-year-old's body was found in the upstairs bedroom of the West Footscray home early on Sunday morning, while a 69-year-old resident escaped the blaze with minor injuries.

The older woman, named only as Leslie by police, is believed to have been the carer for the disabled woman, who neighbours said was called Gay.

A neighbour told journalists he tried to get into the house before helping fight the fire from outside.

"(Leslie) was just screaming that there was somebody upstairs," he said, adding Gay had been using a cane to get around.

"I don't know how the firies got up there to be honest ... (there) wasn't any clear air in there."

Leslie was taken to Footscray Hospital but left before being assessed by medical staff.

Wheelchairs were found inside the gutted home but authorities could not confirm the nature of Gay's disabilities.

An investigation into the blaze found it had been sparked by a portable heater, which is believed to have been left too close to flammable items, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said in a statement on Sunday.

The MFB urged people to be careful when using electrical appliances, including monitoring heaters at all times and keeping them at least a metre away from flammable items such as clothing and bedding.

The blaze had been "very difficult" to fight due to a lot of furniture and other items in the home adding to the fuel load, MFB Commander Roger Chitty told reporters at the scene.

He added it was a "major concern" to find the house either had no fire alarms or they were not working.

The house is extensively damaged and police have not been able to contact Leslie.

The neighbour said the two women were active in the church, and went on a lot of overseas trips and did charity work.

"They collected stuff for church charities ... I think it was boxes of books and things," he said.