Fire destroyed two sheds on Monash Drive in Seymour last Thursday.
It’s believed the fire was started by a discarded cigarette that had been flicked into grass at the back of a property.
A shocked but calm Melissa Smith told The Telegraph that she and her two daughters were next door visiting her mother, Dianne Ginn, when she went out the back to smoke a cigarette.
When finished, she flicked the cigarette away and went back inside.
At first, no one in the house realised anything was amiss until Ms Smith thought she could hear a tap running.
Thinking it was her younger daughter playing with the taps in the kitchen, she went to check and was horrified when she looked out the back door to see the backyard on fire.
The grass in the backyard had caught alight and the fire quickly spread to her mother’s storage shed and to the one on Ms Smith’s property.
Ms Smith was shocked at how fast the fire caught hold and said she ‘‘couldn’t believe how quickly it went’’.
Ms Smith’s older daughter, Brittney, had just done a load of washing which was hanging on the backyard’s clothesline to dry.
The clothesline and the clothes were destroyed in the fire.
Once the family realised they couldn’t put the fire out with their hose, they ran up the street to escape the smoke.
Country Fire Authority operations officer Peter Bell said the fire hadn’t reached the homes but smoke had got into Ms Ginn’s house.
Mr Bell confirmed the fire destroyed both sheds, a clothesline and a couple of trees.
‘‘There was a report of a smoke sighting at 2.06pm today which turned out to be a couple of storage sheds in the backyards of houses, a couple of tree and grass that caught on fire. The grass was fairly long in the backyard where the fire started,’’ he said.
‘‘Both the sheds have been full of the person’s belongings which have been destroyed.’’
Police, Ambulance Victoria and the fire brigade all attended the scene as well as AusNet Services in case the power needed to be cut.
The properties are owned by the Department of Health and Human Services and representatives from the department quickly arrived to help the family and assess the damage to the properties.
Mr Bell said the firefighters were hampered in their efforts by the locked and very full sheds.
‘‘It’s created a lot of hassles for the firefighters in the storage sheds, pulling all the belongings out to douse the fire,’’ he said.
Ms Smith could only say ‘‘never do it, never flick your cigarette’’.
This article was first published in the Seymour Telegraph on March 6 2019.