Fire damage was largely restricted to the space between the roof and ceiling of a home in Donald Road Kaitaia yesterday, although the interior of the home also suffered water damage.
Nikki Mellsop, who with husband Phil leads the Salvation Army in Kaitaia, said the first sign she had of the fire was the smell of smoke. The telephone was dead, however, and with smoke pouring from the roof of the rented house she knew the situation was serious.
The Kaitaia Fire Brigade did not find the fire an easy one to fight, however. The pump on the first appliance malfunctioned, meaning a second unit and crew had to be called up, but with the nearest hydrant a considerable distance further up the hill the water supply didn't long last long enough to finish the job. A third appliance was called from the Kaitaia station, while the Mangonui brigade dispatched reinforcements.
With the ceiling trapdoor at the far end of the house firefighters had to lift sections of the tin roof to get at the seat of the blaze.
Meanwhile a family of four fled into the night when their rented house at Omapere burned down on Saturday night.
The house was well alight by the time firefighters arrived from Omapere, Rawene and Kaikohe at 1am on Sunday, and a vehicle parked near the house was extensively damaged.
The blaze is believed to have originated in a fireplace, the flames getting into the ceiling cavity while the occupants were asleep.