Police and fire investigators are investigating a suspected arson after a fire extensively damaged a Bayfair couple's home early this morning.
An elderly neighbour who did not wish to be named said she called 111 about 6.50am after hearing the smoke alarm going off at the Gloucester Rd house and also saw smoke billowing out of the garage and roof of the single-storey two-bedroom home.
Detective Sergeant Iain Chapman who spoke to the Bay of Plenty Times from the scene today said the exact source of the fire is yet to be determined.
The absent owners are away on holiday.
Mr Chapman said the fire appears to have been intentionally lit as there are signs of a break-in.
Anyone who has seen any suspicious activity around Gloucester Rd, Girven Rd and Bayfair in the 12 hours leading up to the fire callout, particularly around 6.30am or has any other information about the fire should call police on 577 4300.