An Oakford couple had just enough time to grab their pet dogs and a few photographs before a blaze engulfed their semirural home yesterday.
Greg Allen said he used a bucket of water, then a hose to try to douse a small fire he found on a spare bed about 1.15pm.
The fire "took off too quickly", Mr Allen said.
Their faces streaked with smoke, an emotional Mr Allen and his wife Leanne were comforted by family and friends as they watched their Craddon Road home - built with the help of relatives almost a decade ago - burn down.
One firefighter suffered burns to his hand as crews fought the fire and stopped it spreading into surrounding bush.
He was treated at Armadale hospital.
A fire investigation officer yesterday sifted through the rubble to try to determine what caused the blaze.
Mr Allen said they had been clearing out their caravan ready for sale and could think only that among the bags they put on the bed was a barbecue lighter that had somehow switched on.