Mystery surrounds the large house fire that gutted a house on Georges Dr in Napier yesterday.

It took four appliances, from both Napier and Hastings, to put out the fire, which broke out just before midday.

A spokesperson for Fire and Emergency Services New Zealand said the cause of the fire was unknown, and an investigation is under way.

He said the fire was "well involved" when fire services arrived, and could not comment on the damage other than to say it was extensive.

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He said Fire and Emergency Services left the scene about 4.30pm, almost five hours after they arrived.

A second spokesperson said they family were not at home at the time of the incident, and no one was injured.

She said working smoke alarms alerted the neighbours to what was happening, and the fire was a good reminder to check your smoke alarms are working.

It is understood the family may have lost their dog due to the smoke, however, Fire and Emergency Services were unable to confirm this.

A spokesperson for St John confirmed they attended the scene, but no one needed to be transported to hospital or be treated on site.

A crowd gathered to watch the blaze, with Georges Dr being a main route through Napier.

Externally the house does not appear to have sustained much damage, however the windows have been blackened.

The smoke also temporarily delayed a cricket match at McLean Park, but operations manager for Central Districts Cricket, Scott Briasco , said the effects were minor.

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He said the smoke was thick and black, and the players were given a break for 15-20 minutes due to the visibility, and because it was a struggle to breathe. They were back on the pitch once the smoke had cleared.

He said what they experience was minor, especially given what the family must be going through.

It was the first sessions of the second day of the Plunket Shield match, with Central Stags playing the Otago Volts.