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It caught fire while the man was out, spreading from a pot on the stove through the ceiling and into the roof cavity of the house at the corner of Ventry and Shannon Sts.
Alexandra Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Russell Anderson said the man arrived home from his two-block trip to New World to the sound of smoke alarms and called 111 at 10.52am.
Two fire appliances and about 20 firefighters attended the blaze, lifting roofing iron to release smoke and extinguish the fire in what Mr Anderson described as an "internal and external attack".
Thermal imaging cameras were also used to detect hot spots.
One of the benefits of Alexandra being a small town was that a passing Delta contractor noticed the smoke from the fire and cut power to the property before firefighters arrived, Mr Anderson said.
"That saved us a job and allowed us to get to work faster."
The main damage was to the roof structure, but the interior of the house was still extensively damaged by smoke and water.
Firefighters left the scene about 12.35pm.
The property’s owner, Helen-Louise Tetlow, who does not live at the address, said the blaze served as a reminder to always keep an eye on what you were cooking.
"Maybe it’s a good lesson for anybody. Watch what you are cooking — watch it all the time."