A barking dog and quick-thinking young girl have helped save a family of six from a ferocious house fire in Yarraville.

A thick plume of smoke was sent billowing over Melbourne’s west on Saturday after fire broke out at the house on Williamstown Road, north of Somerville Road, about 4.30pm.

The occupants of the home self-evacuated before emergency services arrived at the scene.

About 35 firefighters took 90 minutes to bring the fire under control.

Their efforts help save at least three neighbouring properties that had been at high risk of also going up in flames.


Thick smoke billowing from the Williamstown Road fire on Saturday afternoon. Photo By Benjamin Millar

Neighbour Andrew Kinsella said he could see the flames coming through into his backyard and thought his home would be next.

MFB spokesman Paul Watson said the weatherboard house where the fire had started was already fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

“A number of calls were received and responding MFB crews called for additional response due to large amounts of smoke seen in the direction they were responding to,” he said.

“We’ve got seven fire trucks, one aerial appliance and a rescue unit.”

An advice message was issued for Kingsville, Seddon, Yarraville and West Footscray, warning of the thick toxic smoke.


Thick smoke billowing over the inner-west from the Williamstown Road fire on Saturday afternoon. Photo By Benjamin Millar

MFB Commander Craig Williams said the family first discovered the fire had started after hearing their pet dog was barking.

“A little girl, a six-year-old girl went to check on the dog. She found the fire first, raised the alarm, then once the smoke came into the house the smoke alarms activated,” he told Channel Seven.

“We actually had three other properties that were under threat from the fire.”

Fire investigators combed through the wreckage of the fire-ravaged home on Sunday.

They believe the fire may have started with something coming into contact with a bar heater in the back of the house.

– with Goya Dmytryshchak