CFA crews battle blazes

A house fire in Chewton on Saturday evening is being treated as suspicious and is under investigation by Victoria Police. Photo: Otto Van Pages Anderson

With temperatures soaring over the weekend, fire crews in Mount Alexander Shire were kept busy battling fires in Chewton, Campbells Creek and a large fire to the south of the Leanganook Campground at Mount Alexander.

At 9.50pm on Saturday night, Campbells Creek CFA was called to the site of a small grassfire on Chapel Street, Campbells Creek, where suspects were seen fleeing the scene.

“There was evidence of illegal fireworks being used at the site, which is a timely reminder that fireworks can lead to serious problems and possible injury,” Campbells Creek CFA captain Stewart Hand told the Express.

Later that evening, at 11.30pm, CFA, police, SES, Ambulance Victoria and Powercor were called to attend an out-of-control house fire in Chewton. 

This followed a call to emergency services at the same address about 9.30pm the same evening.

Chewton CFA 3rd lieutenant, Steve Womersley, said units from Chewton, Castlemaine, Elphinstone, Harcourt and Campbells Creek attended the property in Chewton, including a specialist Rehab Unit from Golden Square to assist with decontamination associated with asbestos. 

The historic home and former wood depot was unable to be saved. 

“There was no saving the property so we had to focus on surrounding and drowning the fire, to prevent it escaping to adjoining properties,” Mr Womersley said.

Police are treating the fire as suspicious and the incident remains under investigation. 

Crews finished the weekend with a call out to Mount Alexander at 3.44pm on Sunday. 

Twelve tankers from across the district were supported by air crews and Forest Fire Management, as they battled difficult terrain to control a large blaze caused by an abandoned campfire.

Harcourt CFA captain Andrew Wilson said firefighters took three quarters of an hour to bring the blaze under control.

“The abandoned campfire was not put out properly and the difficult terrain made it difficult to access,” Mr Wilson said. “Thanks to the teamwork of local crews we were able to get the fire under control, but I encourage people to visit the CFA website and look at the Can I Can’t I information.”