Two people are dead and three are in Waikato Hospital, one in a critical condition, after a house fire near Taupo overnight.
Emergency services were called to State Highway 5 in Rangitaiki around 30km south of Taupo shortly before 3am, a St John spokesman said.
Northern Fire Communications shift manager Scott Osmond said the house was part of a dairy farm in Rangitaiki.
Police confirmed this morning two people died in the fire.
Two ambulances and two helicopters were sent to the property, on the Napier-Taupo Rd, and one person was taken to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition.
The second helicopter took two patients to hospital with moderate injuries.
A Fire Service spokeswoman said the house was well alight when crews arrived.
It was under control and crews were dampening down the site by 5.30am, she said.
The fire damaged house was shrouded in dense early morning fog.
A reporter from the Taupo & Turangi Weekender was at the scene. She said co-workers on the large dairy farm were clearly devastated.
They were gathering at the nearby Rangitaiki Tavern to console each other.
"There are about half a dozen houses on the property, it's clearly a large dairy operation," she said. "There are two cars outside the house.
"It's difficult to see in the fog but it appears to have been a brick and tile house, one of several up the drive from State Highway 5. I'd say it's about a kilometre and a half up the driveway to the house."
She said fire investigators were already on the scene.
Rangitaiki Tavern owner Marion Klaus said she felt numb at the news that two people in the tiny community had died.
The tavern opened at 5am and Klaus heard the helicopter early this morning.
"It's a very close-knit community and we're in touch with everybody," she said.
"At this stage we have no idea what's going on, but it's a pretty devastating situation."
Klaus knew everyone in the area and said it was stressful waiting to find out who had died.
"It's a tragedy, a real tragedy."