The fire started when books and papers stacked next to an unguarded open fireplace caught fire shortly before 3am. The fire had been left burning when the occupant went to bed.
Crews from Mount Evelyn, Bayswater, Lilydale, Wandin and Coldstream attended.
The fire quickly spread through the Rangeview Road mud-brick house. The owner had an extensive collection of books which fuelled the fire.
District 13 Operations Officer Colin Brown said the man was very lucky to escape given his smoke alarm was not correctly installed.
“He had a working smoke alarm, but it was sitting on the kitchen table. If it had been installed correctly in the roof he would have been alerted to the fire much sooner. He’s a lucky man. It really does show the importance of having a working smoke alarm.
“It is also a reminder to residents to never leave an open fire place burning when it won’t be attended and always have a fire grate in place,” he said.
Firefighters remained on scene until about 8am, ensuring all hot spots had been extinguished. Mr Brown said they had to pull apart the burnt possessions throughout the home to fully extinguish the fire.
Related article: Mt Evelyn house fire by CFA member James Armstrong