Firefighters from six crews "fought a losing battle" as they worked to control a blaze that ripped through a family home in Raurimu.
Fire crews from National Park, Whakapapa, Owhango, Taumarunui, Ohakune and Raetihi were called to fight the fire on the corner of State Highway 4 and Raurimu Rd this morning.
Fire communications centre shift manager Mike Wanoa said they were alerted to the fire around 10.10am and finished dampening the area around 3pm.
He said the single storey house was "well involved" when the first crew arrived so more crews were called to help.
Mr Wanoa said there was nobody inside at the time of the fire and there was no indication it was suspicious.
"We may not find out what caused the fire but a fire investigator is out there now."
A witness told the Rotorua Daily Post he went to investigate when he saw the thick smoke.
"I was on my way out to a farm in Raurimu when I noticed the smoke was quite thick. When I reached the house it was well involved and by the end it was pretty destroyed.
"The biggest issue in the area is water supply and while there was a stream nearby, the fire crews were unfortunately fighting a losing battle. They were never going to be able to save the place."
He said the owners of the home were well known in the community and were lovely people.
"My first concern was to ask that they were alright, luckily they were not in the house at the time."