The Raetihi Bowling Club has been significantly damaged by fire - making it the fourth serious blaze in less than a week in the wider Whanganui area.

The fire happened just before the club's centenary, Raetihi fire chief John Compton said.

The brigade was called out at 4.51 on Tuesday afternoon to find the Duncan St building well alight.

"I think it could have been a problem in relation to material and equipment," Mr Compton said.

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He did not see any indication the fire was deliberately started, but said it was under investigation.

The Ohakune brigade also helped fight the fire, and Whanganui area commander Bernie Rush was also on scene.

Mr Compton said the building was left unusable with "significant damage".

The fire reignited just before 7.30pm, and the brigades were called out again to deal with it.

Mr Rush said fire investigators were on the scene and more would be known about the cause later on Wednesday.

He said no-one was in the building at the time.

The fire took about 30 minutes to put out initially. The old wooden building, used as clubrooms he thought, was three years off its centenary.

"It was so extensively damaged it was difficult to tell last night where it started" Mr Rush said.