Fire crews had to fight their way through snow and fallen trees to a burning house in the Turakina Valley.
Taihape volunteer firefighters were called to the Turakina Valley Rd fire at 10.10pm on Friday - and it took them 40 minutes to get to the house, even though they could see the flames from five kilometres away.
Electricity in the area was off after the heavy dump of snow earlier in the week, and the fire - which destroyed the large house - may have been caused by a candle burning in a bedroom.
Taihape station officer Mike Collings said the crew drove north, turned west toward Mataroa and reached the Turakina Valley Rd via Ruanui Rd.
Luckily a local farmer had graded the road, because there was snow most of the way.
They drove the last few kilometres on wheel tracks and had to "bash" their way through, clearing fallen trees and debris from their path.
When the fire crews arrived, the family, including children, was out of the large house, which was well involved. There wasn't much they could do to save it.
The Taihape truck was joined by two Waiouru trucks and a tanker. The Hunterville fire crew was also alerted but couldn't get there because of downed power lines.
The crews pumped about 40,000 litres of water on to the blaze from the tanker, the farm and house water tanks and a swimming pool.
"From what we have been told, the family heard smoke alarms and went down the hallway," Mr Collings said.
"They had time to grab a few items before getting out."
He believed the farming family was insured and has taken refuge with parents.
The Taihape crew didn't get home until 5.15am on Saturday.
Mr Collings was in charge because Taihape's chief fire officer and deputy chief fire officer were unavailable, but he said that wasn't a problem.
"I was it, but it was all good - we have training for it, and we are used to dealing with all sorts of stuff."