The Bay of Plenty house fire where a woman was found dead earlier this week remains "unexplained" today.

Police are investigating the cause of the Ōmokoroa blaze, believed to have killed the woman, on Bramley Drive early on Tuesday morning.

Neighbours who woke to the fire fought to try to enter the house but the fire and smoke were too much.

A police communications spokeswoman said the fire was being treated as unexplained for now.

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It was expected to be some time before police would release the woman's name as they were still trying to locate some family, she said.

Bay of Plenty Coast assistant area commander Scott Bell said the property, located below road level, was "quite difficult" to access.

"From the road area we could see a little bit of flame coming through the roof, but when we went through the property, there were flames all through all levels."

When volunteer firefighters from the Ōmokoroa brigade arrived, back up was called for from Tauranga, Greerton and Katikati. About 20 firefighters worked to control the fire, which reignited shortly after 6am and was still smoking at 8.30am.