Reptile rescue after Echuca house fire

Crews called to a fully-alight house fire in Echuca managed to save the family’s pet bearded dragon from the flames.


Firefighters from Echuca Fire Brigade, Bamawm Extension Fire Brigade and Lockington Fire Brigade were called to the property in McSwain Road, Echuca at 4.43pm on Tuesday 2 July after smoke alarms alerted the owners to a fire.

The family did the right thing and got everyone out safely - but their pet bearded dragon, housed in a tank in their son’s room, was unfortunately left behind as the fire took hold.

With four trucks on scene the fire was soon under control, and the majority of the fire was knocked down by 5.37pm.

With the fire under control, crews in breathing apparatus worked to gain access to the roof space of the home to attack the seat of the fire.

Echuca Brigade First Lieutenant Col Munro said access to the roof was challenging with the fire fully engulfing its structure.

“The fire is suspected to have started from an electrical fault in the switchboard so it travelled up an outside wall and straight into the roof of the property,” Col said.

“The roof of the house was fully destroyed.

“Thankfully the home had working smoke alarms and the family were able to escape without injury.”

Outside, the family let firefighters know about their missing pet as well as presents they had ready for their son’s upcoming 18th birthday.

Through thick smoke crews in breathing apparatus made their way through the home to salvage what they could.

“Even though the ceilings had collapsed in two rooms making it difficult to navigate, amazingly the room housing the family pet was untouched and we were able to reunite him with his owners,” Col said.

“We also grabbed what we could find as we were mopping up. Thankfully we also saved the birthday presents, the family’s teddy bears and jewellery boxes - and the reptile house.”

Firefighters remained at the property until after 6.30pm.

Victoria Police, Powercor and a council building surveyor also attended the incident. Fire investigators were on site the following day to assess the cause of the fire.  

Author: Shaunnagh O'Loughlin