Flames and black smoke have been seen billowing out of a house in a small coastal town, north of Auckland this evening.

A resident who lives not far from the house engulfed in flames near Cape Rodney Rd, in Leigh, said he saw the fire begin.

He described seeing a lot of black smoke and flames begin to flicker through what looked like pohutakawa trees and three or four fire engines speed past.

"We are looking right down onto it, and with the flames coming through the trees it was hard to tell whether it was a house involved or not.

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"The smoke has now turned white and it is incredible. It is really quite dramatic."

He said there were two houses located on the end point where he believed the fire was located.

The resident said an elderly man lived in one of the houses, but he was unsure which house was on fire.

He said white smoke was still visible when he looked out his window, but he though it was easing.

Emergency services were called to reports of a fire near Cape Rodney Rd in Leigh shortly after seven.

The house, which a Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman described as fairly new, was well engulfed in flames.

He said 15 appliances were sent out to help extinguish the fire.

The spokesman expected the house would be largely destroyed, but said all of the occupants had managed to get out unscathed.

He said it was too early to ascertain a cause for the fire.