Police are investigating a fire that razed a home west of Kaikohe.
The alarm was raised just before 11pm on Wednesday, on Jordan Rd, about 8km west of Kaikohe.
When the first fire crew arrived the single-storey house, with a carport and garage attached, was already burning fiercely.
Kaikohe fire chief Bill Hutchinson said all the brigade could do was contain the fire and put it out. Fire appliances had to shuttle water from Kaikohe because there was no water source in the area.
Two fire appliances and a tanker responded from Kaikohe, as well as a fire appliance from Okaihau.
The volunteers got home about 4am yesterday.
Mr Hutchinson said the house was not occupied at the time.
Fire investigator Michael Champtaloup visited on the night to speak to witnesses.
He returned yesterday, as did a detective from Mid North police, to continue his scene examination in daylight.
Mr Champtaloup said the fire, which started in the dining or sun room at the front of the well-looked after house, was "definitely suspicious".
The owners had just tidied it up in preparation for new tenants.