A specialist fire investigator is being sent in, to find the cause of a house fire in Invercargill.

A large cloud of smoke billowed into the air last night, prompting multiple calls to the Fire Service.

Station Officer Graeme Gilroy says breathing apparatus was used by firefighters going inside the O'Hara Street home. No one was trapped, but the building was damaged badly.

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen.