Two Kaitaia Fire Brigade crews had no chance of saving the contents of a barn at a rural address in Bonnetts Rd, but did save the house just five metres away, and even the plastic tank, from any damage.
The alarm was raised by a Rural Delivery driver at 8.12am yesterday, although the resident, Jason Palenski, said he suspected that the fire had started before he left for work in Kaitaia more than 30 minutes earlier.
He said he believed that a generator at the rear of the barn was responsible for the blaze, a view shared by Fire Service investigator Mike Champtaloup.
Kaitaia Deputy Chief Fire Officer Craig Rogers said the crews poured around 25,000 litres of water on to the flames, the bulk of that being taken from the owner's water tank, which was left all but empty.
But while the fire was brought under control relatively quickly, and the barn was still standing, the contents were destroyed.
They included a ute that was parked just far enough into the building for the flames to reach it, a quad and a two-wheeled motorcycle, shearing gear, a water blaster, a washing machine and a gas spit roast.
Mr Palenski, who took some consolation from the fact that his tools had not been in the barn, said insurance might cover some items but not the bulk of what he had lost.
He had heard the siren from his work, he added, but had no idea that the brigade had been dispatched to his home.