TWO south-west homes were destroyed by fire yesterday.
A young Warrnambool family was last night homeless after their weatherboard house in Merrivale Drive suffered significant damage in an afternoon blaze.
And in Terang a weatherboard house on High Street was gutted by fire shortly before midday.
Two Warrnambool CFA trucks were called to the Merrivale incident at 3.30pm and were confronted by billowing smoke.
Operations officer Greg Kinross said firefighters wore breathing apparatus to attack the flames and managed to confine fire damage to the front section of the house, but the remainder was badly smoke and heat damaged.
“There is a displaced family tonight,” Mr Kinross said.
He said the fire was brought under control within 20 minutes. The cause was being investigated. No one was home at the time.
Firefighters mopped up at the scene until dark.
Police diverted traffic on Merrivale Drive and Powercor was called to assist with a fallen power line.
Mr Kinross said it was timely reminder for people to take care in the cold weather and to make sure their house was safe.
Firefighters had trouble gaining accessing to the Terang property, which was well alight when the alarm was raised at 11.52am.
Witnesses described flames leaping through the roof as High Street (Princes Highway) was closed between Dow Street and Hampden Street on the eastern side of town.
Country Fire Authority crews from Terang, Noorat, Dixie, Kolora, Noorat, Camperdown and Mortlake responded to the fire, supported by police from Terang and Mortlake. Witnesses reported smoke billowing from the front rooms of the old weatherboard home.
More than three-quarters of the building was destroyed.
Terang brigade officer Peter Blain said a middle-aged woman lived at the property and there were initial fears for her safety.
“There is someone living there but she was not at home,” Mr Blain said late yesterday afternoon.
“The roof caved in. The house has suffered extensive damage and will have to be assessed.
‘‘We have no idea about the cause as yet. It was well alight when we got here.
‘‘There was smoke coming out of the ceiling everywhere but the cause and where the fire started is yet to be determined.
“We did have trouble getting access to the building.
‘‘Traffic was diverted, the road was closed between Dow and McKinnon streets and traffic was diverted around a side road.’’