Northlanders are being urged not to leave electronic devices charging on beds or other flammable surfaces after an over-heated vape started a fire and destroyed a house in Kaitaia.
The fire broke out about 2.20am on Thursday at Masters Place, off Bonnetts Rd.
Volunteers from the Kaitaia Fire Brigade were quick to put out the blaze but the Housing NZ home is believed to be too badly damaged to repair.
Fire investigator Craig Bain said it appeared a device, thought to be a vape, had been left charging on a bed overnight.
"'It has over-charged and the unit has heated the bedding and set it on fire. It's a reminder when you charge these things, to do it on a surface that can't burn, such as a bench top in the kitchen.''
Fortunately the home was fitted with working smoke alarms which woke the occupants, a mother and son.
Both got out and were unhurt though they had lost all their possessions.
Bain said there were usually young children living in the house as well but they were away for the night.
Kaitaia fire chief Craig Rogers said the house was ''burning end to end'' when the brigade arrived.
They were able to put out the fire quickly so the single-storey house did not look badly damaged from the outside. It had, however, major structural damage and was ''pretty much destroyed'' inside.
The occupants had spent the rest of the night with family.
Bain said he had arranged replacement clothing through the Salvation Army and referred the family to Winz for emergency assistance.
He had recommended the house be bulldozed.
It is not the first time a home has been destroyed by a charger or a device left to charge.
A house fire in Ripi St, Kaikohe, in July 2021 was thought to have been caused by a cellphone charger left switched on with the end of the charging cable resting on bedding while the occupants were at work.
In October 2021 an elderly woman's home in Waitangi was destroyed when she left a wheat bag heated in a microwave on a cushion. The super-heated wheat bag caught fire with the flames spreading to the cushion and couch.