Fears people were trapped inside a burning South Auckland home have been allayed after a search inside the blazing home was hindered by a collapsing roof.

Everyone has now been accounted for after a fierce fire extensively damaged a Papatoetoe home this morning.

Fire investigators are sifting through the charred remains of the Shirley Rd property to try to determine the cause of the blaze.

Five crews were called to the blaze by a passer-by who saw flames coming out windows.

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Firefighters sift through the smoking embers after fire badly destroyed a home in Shirley Rd, Papatoetoe this morning. Photo / Facebook
Firefighters sift through the smoking embers after fire badly destroyed a home in Shirley Rd, Papatoetoe this morning. Photo / Facebook

Initial reports suggested people were inside the single-storey home.

Firefighters quickly searched the property but were thwarted when the roof fell in.

The Fire Service has now posted on Facebook that no one was found inside.

Fire Service northern shift manager Scott Osmond said the home was engulfed by fire when crews arrived.

Video sent by a Herald reader showed thick black smoke billowing from the home.

Dozens of residents gathered to watch the blaze.

Neighbour Jerry Curach said he heard a number of explosions coming from the burning property.

"There were flames leaping out.

"There was real black smoke with a lot of banging.

"I was at the other end of the house and thought someone was doing carpentry work and then I looked out to see smoke and flames pouring out."

He said the fire now appeared under control, but the home looked "well and truly destroyed".

Curach said the garage of the damaged property was used as a tattoo parlour.