Unattended cooking caught fire causing flames to rip through the roof of a Tauranga home last night after spreading through the extractor fan.

Three fire crews from Tauranga and Greerton were called to the fire on 19th Ave about 5.20pm.

Smoke had filled the house by the time firefighters arrived and the fire had spread into the roof, Tauranga senior station officer Len Sabin said.

"Some cooking has been left unattended and the fire's gone through the extractor and into the roof space."

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The house did not have smoke alarms "which may have alerted the neighbours a bit sooner" and no one was home at the time, he said.

Firefighters were at the address for more than an hour putting out the blaze and ventilating the smoke from the property.

There was moderate damage to the kitchen stove, fan, wall and ceiling but more serious damage in the roof cavity, Mr Sabin said

Power would need to be isolated and turned off to the house as the wiring in the roof had been badly damaged, Mr Sabin said.