Fire has destroyed a Bellevue home, leaving a Tauranga family with nothing.
The blaze has prompted firefighters to remind people to have chimneys cleaned before using fireplaces for the first time this winter.
Firefighters were called to the blaze in Queen Rd about 11.45pm on Wednesday but the fire had already taken hold of the house, Tauranga Senior Station Officer Len Sabin said.
He understood the family inside noticed smoke and tried to put the fire out with a garden hose. By the time firefighters arrived the fire was "well involved", he said. "There was extensive, extensive damage to the house. It's a total loss."
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Mr Sabin understood the family had lit a fire in the fireplace for the first time this season and the fire had begun around the chimney's flue.
The family members were staying with neighbours but would not comment on their situation.
The house was gutted and roped off, charred remnants of the family's belongings still scattered outside.
A post on Facebook asked for donations of clothes for the family left with nothing.
"PLEASE HELP!!!!! My poor neighbours house burned down last night thank fully no one was hurt but they lost everything I have put them up in my shed and we have managed to source a bed and some carpet for her to set up in my garage but if anybody has anything that could donate to her to help would be much appreciated food clothes ect ... [sic]"
Mr Sabin said it was a timely reminder for others with fireplaces.
"With the time of year, the Fire Service encourages people to check their chimneys and get their flues cleaned and be observant on the first couple of times using the fire," he said.