A LIFELONG CFA member has lost his family home while helping fight fires in the Gippsland town of Glenmaggie.
Standing in the rubble of his former home, Peter Monds, 71, remembered the family treasures lost in the blaze that tore through the historic home.
"I was born and bred here ... I've lost everything because I had all the history there," Mr Monds said.
"Wedding photos of my grandfather, grandmother, mother and father, they were all there, so all that's gone; all my records that I've kept all my life ... photos, antique furniture it had in it, that's all gone."
His grandparents built the timber house in Licola Rd in the early 1900s.
Mr Monds lived there for 68 years, looking after the 300ha property after his parents died until he moved to Heyfield three years ago when land around the historic family home was sold.
Two former CFA stations sit on the property, one of which still stood after Friday's fire.
The house and a small parcel of land around it was his final connection to his family's history in Glenmaggie.
Mr Monds, a CFA captain for 16 years and member for 55, was helping man the phones and radios at the Glenmaggie CFA station when the fire tore through.
"I suppose I had to expect it because these fires come that quick and there's just not enough people around to save the houses any more; we're a bit lucky this is the only house in Glenmaggie that's been burnt," Mr Monds said.
Amid the destruction, Mr Monds' pet peacock survived, taking shelter under an old water tank at the back of the house.
The family of the fourth-generation mountain cattleman has lived in the region since 1867.
"It won't be rebuilt. I won't rebuild it, probably get a dozer and clean it up, maybe bury what's there and leave it the way it is."
He hoped he would be able to salvage some antique tools from a shed also razed in the fire.
Nearby, a trainee police officer spent four hours fighting back flames to help save her brother's home.
Siblings Mick Higgins, 20, and Mel Leeds, 26, drove from their parents' home to Mr Higgins' neighbouring timber house when they saw flames surrounding it.
"I had a tea towel around my mouth and the smoke was just suffocating," Ms Leeds said.
"Mick really just took control beyond his 20 years, and I just kept cracking jokes to make him feel a bit better because we were both scared."
Hampered by poor visibility and strong winds, she and Mr Higgins battled with the fire using portable pumps.
"There was not much visibility and the wind was just whipping around.
"When we got out I just thought, 'I don't know what I'm looking for, I can't see anything', so that was probably the scariest part, not knowing what we could see and couldn't see."
The pair saved the timber home given to Mr Higgins by his neighbour, former Essendon footballer Tim Watson.
Watson, who has a holiday home in Glenmaggie, visited the area yesterday.
"It was a miracle that (Mick's) house was still standing," Watson said.
"His place was a timber place in a paddock and the fire swept through there, and I was staggered it didn't burn.
He and Mel did a great job of ensuring the flames didn't attach themselves to the house."
Watson gave Mr Higgins the house after he and his wife built a new home in the area. Mr Higgins and his dad, Brian, used a truck to move the house to the top of the hill.
Watson said his new brick home had survived the fire but he was shocked by the impact the fires had on the surrounding area.
"It's really confronting to see the earth scarred the way it is ... but that fire still burning over there is still a real threat. People around here are not out of danger yet," he said.
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