Blaze takes ‘Durrol’

‘Durrol’ one of Mount Macedon’s last hill station homes has been destroyed by fire.
The devastating loss came last Wednesday when local firefighters responded to a call at the 117-year-old Edwardian weatherboard just after 9.30am.
Macedon Fire Brigade captain Ross Luke was first on scene and said the blaze had already taken a strong hold from inside the home as firefighters worked to save what they could. Some facade of the old home still stands.
“It was pretty well involved when we got there. The fire had taken full hold of one end of the house and had travelled through the roof space towards the other end of the house,” he said.
“We’re extremely grateful that the occupants were able to safely evacuate from the house.”
The occupant, a 96-year-old woman, was assisted from the home before firefighters arrived on the scene. Her much-loved dog, Sienna, has not been located since the fire broke out.
Eight appliances were on scene to battle the blaze which came under control within about one hour. Firefighters believe the fire was caused by a fallen log from a fireplace.
Crews managed to save one of the property’s outbuilding structures as well as some personal valuables.
Initial responders included Mount Macedon, Macedon, Gisborne, Riddells Creek and Woodend. Crews also called in the protective equipment van from Bendigo and Golden Square Rehab Unit.
Smoke warnings were issued for the area at the time and fire crews monitored the fire into the night to control hot spots.
Durrol is believed to have had just two family ownerships in 90 years and was known for its beautiful National Trust-listed garden laid out by noted landscape designer Edna Walling in 1925.
Firefighters were largely able to save the garden which was also threatened by bushfire in 1983.
Walling’s design encompassed the terraced garden which runs down to the Willimigongon Creek to the east and incorporated typical elements such as axial planning, stone paving, herbaceous plants and hedged boundaries.
The property also has several outstanding trees listed on the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees of Victoria.
Three house fires in 10 days
Operations officer Andy Waterson said local brigades had attended three significant house fires in just 10 days including homes in Woodend and Kyneton.
“This time of year is what we call the forgotten fire season,” Mr Waterson said.
“We want people to be vigilant and take steps to avoid fires. This means ensuring your smoke detectors are working, not overloading powerpoints, having the correct equipment like fire guards, ensuring fireplaces and equipment is clean, and having a plan.”
Macedon Ranges group media officer Mike Dornau said the recent house fires attended were sadly fires that could have been avoidable.
“It’s just tragic. It’s all good to put a fire out but then you’ve got people that are displaced – at all three houses,” he said.
“Two of them were totally destroyed so people can’t move back at all and the other is inhabitable at the moment.
“This is more structure fires than we’ve had for years. It goes to show that during winter there are so many dangers.
“With structure fires there are dozens of causes so people need to be as diligent in winter as in summer in terms of fire safety.”

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