Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Family escape 'massive' fire on Waiheke

The man called the fire service from his mobile. File photo
The man called the fire service from his mobile. File photo

A man and his young daughter escaped a "massive" fire which destroyed their family home on Auckland's Waiheke Island early this morning.

Emergency services were called to the fire on Hunterville Rd, Orapiu Bay, about 4.15 this morning.

The man woke to the sound of breaking glass and tried to put the fire out with a garden hose, Oneroa Volunteer Fire Brigade officer Bruce Scia Scia said.

However, the fire was too large to contain. The man got himself and his daughter, who was about 8 or 9, out of the house.

The man called the fire service from his mobile.

No one was hurt in the fire, which saw embers spewing around the neighbourhood.

It took a dozen volunteer firefighters with two pumps and a tanker about three hours to contain the fire, Mr Scia Scia said.

"It was quite a large two-storey house and it collapsed in on itself so it took a lot to put out.

Nothing was saved."

Strong winds blew debris up the valley and across the road, and a couple of neighbouring houses were temporarily evacuated, he said.

A helicopter was initially called out to the scene, but stood down.

The fire was not being treated as suspicious, Mr Scia Scia said.

A man who lived in the area told the Herald that residents who lived on the nearby ridge couldn't stand in front of their properties because the fire was so fierce.

"I didn't get there until about 6.30am but people have been saying they saw embers the size of fish flying up at them. It was massive. The house is completely gone."

Another neighbour told the Herald "there was quite a lot of wind and there's a number of trees in the area. The Fire Service did well to stop the fire spreading."

A fire investigator returned to the property this afternoon to investigate the cause of the fire, a Fire Service spokesman said.

- NZ Herald

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