A Church St, Benalla, home was well and truly burning by the time emergency services arrived yesterday.
It is believed a smoke alarm alerted one of the residents of the duplex a fire had spread from the kitchen into the roof of the house.
The woman managed to evacuate with her small children.
Benalla Art Gallery director Bryony Nainby was in the process of moving out of the other side of the duplex.
She came home to find the house surrounded by emergency service vehicles and a large crowd watching the huge plumes of smoke.
— Benalla Ensign