A family was left devastated after their home in Lyons was ruined by fire on Monday night.

The fire is thought to have begun in the drying machine of the Devonport Street home before 7.20pm.

The fire spread through the laundry, but firefighters quickly arrived on scene, and prevented the flames from reaching other areas of the house.

The occupants, a father and his two daughters, were not at home when the fire started. There were no injuries, but most of the one-storey house was ruined by smoke and heat.

Firefighters say it is now too damaged to live in.

The father was visibly distressed at the scene on Monday night, as police and firefighters helped him comfort his two girls.

Neighbours reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the roof of the home, but no visible flames.

Lyons resident Murray Moore first noticed something was wrong when sirens flashed past his window after 7.20pm. ''When I looked outside, there was a lot of smoke coming from the ceiling, I thought the house was a goner,'' Mr Moore said.

Many neighbours spilled out on to the street to watch the firefighters work.

The street was blocked off for a number of hours.

Three pumpers, a breathing apparatus support crew, and a commander were deployed to the scene.

ACT Fire & Rescue has warned residents not to leave appliances running while they are not home.