A quick-thinking six-year-old has helped her family escape from a fierce fire which gutted their Melbourne home on Saturday afternoon.
The little girl heard her dog barking and raised the alarm before the smoke detectors were activated.
The ferocious fire took hold of the house on Williamstown Road in Yarraville within minutes, and thick smoke turned the sky from blue to black.
Remarkably, a family of six inside the house managed to escape uninjured.
“Their pet dog was barking. A little girl, a 6-year-old girl, went to check on the dog. She found the fire first, raised the alarm,” Metropolitan Fire Brigade Commander Craig Williams said.
“Then once the smoke came into the house, the smoke alarms activated.”
Neighbours watched on in disbelief as the property went up in flames.
“This was just ablaze … flames actually coming through onto, like nearly into my back garden,” neighbour Andrew Kinsella recalled.
“Standing back there I thought this house was next.”
Police closed surrounding streets as firefighters battled the blaze from the ground and above.
“We actually had three other properties that were under threat from fire,” Commander Williams said.
Fortunately, those properties were saved.
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Fire investigators spent the day sifting through what remains of the family home and believe the blaze started in the back of the house, where a bar heater had been left unattended.
“Something gets near it, a bit of clothing or a bit of material and then it starts from there,” Commander Williams said.
The family is now left with only the clothes they were wearing, but is thankful the blaze didn’t end in tragedy.