The Welcome Bay community has rallied to support a resident who lost almost everything when his home went up in flames.
Firefighters spent about four hours on Sunday trying to put out a fire that has left a two-storey home on Flinders Pl completely smoke damaged.
Welcome Bay residents reported seeing thick, black smoke coming from the home just before 4.30pm.
Greerton station officer Steve Wright said the owner had gone shopping and noticed his deck was on fire when he returned.
Wright said the owner phoned the fire brigade after noticing the fire was beyond his control.
Flames were billowing from the deck, lounge, dining and kitchen area when firefighters arrived.
"It was completely involved in flames."
Wright said it took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the fire and a couple of hours to dampen hotspots. Most of the damage was to the deck area but the cause of the blaze was yet to be determined, he said.
"There is some clothing in the bedroom wardrobes that is salvageable, but most of the house is completely smoke damaged."
However, Wright said the owner was thankful firefighters had managed to save everything that was inside the garage.
"He was pretty upset and in a bit of shock," he said. "It will take a while for that to sink in."
Thankfully, Wright said the man was insured.
The homeowner declined to comment when approached by the Bay of Plenty Times.
Welcome Bay Community Centre manager Anna Larsen said the community had rallied on social media to gather clothes and bedding to help the victim.
"When it comes to the crunch, the community can look after itself. It just shows the resilience within the local community," she said.
Larsen said she understood the owner had somewhere to live in the meantime.
An Auckland woman visiting her daughter at Flinders Pl said she knew the resident was highly regarded by the people who lived on the street.
"He'd come over with goodies at Christmas and Easter time ... He is very well liked and very kind," she said. "Everyone is sad."
A neighbour, who would only be known as Liesa, said the man who lived in the house was "the most amazing person".
"It's just tragic. I was in shock myself. I've never seen anything like this," she said.
Welcome Bay residents reported seeing smoke billowing from the roof of the home on Sunday.
"The house was well-ablaze," Alison Dunlop said. "[There were] huge plumes of smoke."
A resident nearby, who did not wish to be named, also reported seeing the fire.
"We heard sirens and looked out the window to see thick black smoke," she said.
Additional reporting - Jean Bell