Two brothers tried to put out a fire using a bucket and garden hose after the blaze started in a bedroom of their family home in Northland.
Fire crews from Whangārei, Kamo, Hikurangi and Kawakawa were called to the fire at Mokau Rd but due to the remote location little could be done to put out the fire that eventually destroyed the five bedroom home.
Mokau is 45km north of Whangārei on a winding road.
The alarm was raised about 7.30am yesterday , Specialist Fire Investigator Gary Beer said.
After inspecting the charred remains, Beer said the cause of the fire could not be determined but it was not thought to be suspicious. He said five people lived in the insured, single story home.
A teenager who had been waiting for the school bus down the driveway had noticed the fire and ran back to make sure his brother had made it safely outside.
"One person in their 20s was still asleep but woke to the smell of smoke," Beer said.
Together the brothers used buckets of water and a garden hose to try to quell the fire until help arrived but unfortunately they could not stem the flames.
"The house is demolished and the family are devastated," Beer said.
When crews arrived they had to set up a portable pump in a nearby creek, fill a tanker and take it up the hill to the house.
"That hampered their ability to get the fire out quickly."
The crew worked at the site until 12.30pm to ensure everything had been damped down.