A suspicious early morning blaze destroyed an Eketahuna home on Sunday.
Fire crews from Eketahuna and Pahiatua were called to the scene at 2am.
Eketahuna fire chief Max Mayer said the house was completely engulfed in flames when he arrived and "it's pretty much burned to the ground".
"It's a total write-off -- the house is destroyed."
Mr Mayer said the fire was "very suspicious" and there was a strong possibility it had been arson.
A fire, "probably electrical", had broken out at the same house in December and had burnt out a room.
Since that fire no power had been hooked up to the house, which was understood to have been unoccupied for some time.
Mr Mayer said police had been called because of the fire's suspicious nature.
Police and fire safety were investigating to establish what caused the blaze.
"As far as we know, no one was living in it. It had some asbestos in it as well."
Mr Mayer said due to the asbestos discovery and its possible danger to health, the firefighters' gear would be sent away for decontamination.
The fire had taken the crews about 50 minutes to put out, and a further hour had been spent dampening down hot spots.
"The house was already buggered when we got there," Mr Mayer said.
He said the fire could have been burning for "a decent amount of time" before anybody was aware of it.
"Even though the house is in town, it's hidden in behind trees.
"The neighbours heard an explosion so they went out to have a look. It was probably the heat blowing out windows, and they called 111."
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