A Napier family is "devastated" after losing their family home and eight dogs on Wednesday afternoon.

The fire, which demolished the three-bedroom house on Ellis Wallace Road in Bay View, Eskdale had been in the family since 1989.

Owner, John Scott couldn't bring himself to speak about what had happened and his eldest daughter, Kathleen Andrews was lost for words.

"It is absolutely devastating. I can't even think. I don't even know what to do."

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The summit stone house managed to contain the fire within, Mrs Andrews said.

She received the call from her husband, Justin Andrews at about 1pm yesterday afternoon, while she was at work.

"It is hard to process."

The 76-year-old farmer, originally from Scotland, lived on his own and used the up to 40ha section for cattle.

The dogs, aged between 5 months and 6 years-old were English Pointers and used for conformation showing and "casual" hunting.

They have four surviving dogs, who were in the kennels at the back of the property.

The owner and technician of Laptops R Us said the dogs used to roam in and out, but were "safely tucked away in their crates for about an hour in case anything happened" as it was cold and windy outside.

"Eighteen years of breeding and three generations have been lost."

Son-in-law, Justin Andrews said "you never quite know what to say when something like this happens."

"At this stage, we don't know what caused the fire, but our first thought is that the winds sparked it."

John, who was on the farm at the time, saw smoke billowing from the house and ran towards it, but by the time he reached it, "flames were coming out of the doorway", Mr Andrews said.

He then proceeded to run a few kilometres to the nearest neighbour, where he alerted Mr Andrews and called for the fire brigade.

Her younger sister had flown from Christchurch last night to be with the family.

Senior Station Officer at the Napier Fire Brigade, Jamie Nichol said the cause was "undetermined."

He said the Fire Safety Officer had been called to the scene.

Five fire trucks attended the scene and left at 5.20pm last night.