A MAN’S body was found inside a burned out Mornington house last week.
About 20 firefighters and five appliances fought the blaze in Carramar Street just after midnight, Friday 23 August.
Thick smoke was visible from the Mornington Peninsula Freeway.
The Arson Squad will investigate the blaze which spread to a neighbouring house and damaged the garage. The occupants of that house were safely evacuated.
Neighbour Sam Maxwell said he was working in his garage about 11.30pm when he heard – and felt – a loud “whomp” followed by a series of pops and bangs, like bursting aerosol cans.
“At first I didn’t think anything of it but then I thought I’d better check and ran over,” he said. He saw no one else around.
“I saw what I thought was a bonfire in the backyard and then realised the house was on fire. Flames were everywhere and I thought someone may be inside. I started yelling and screaming but got no response.
“I jumped the gate and ran up to the house and tried to force open a window but it just collapsed and fell in and then thick black smoke began pouring out.
“I kicked in the front door and ran inside a bedroom. I got no response even though I was yelling loudly.”
Forced back by the heat and smoke, Mr Maxwell retreated outside where another neighbour told him dogs may be in the backyard. “I managed to scrape in under the garage roller door but could see no dogs,” he said.
Mornington Fire Brigade officer-in-charge Blake Ross said the cause of the blaze at the single storey brick veneer house was “still being investigated” and that there were no suspicious circumstances.
He said it was difficult searching inside the house because of the extensive fire damage. The 44-year-old victim is believed to have been alone.
Fire crews from Mornington, Mt Eliza and Frankston took about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
Mornington police will prepare a report for the coroner.