Christchurch firefighters raced to a Hornby address last night fearing the worst after reports of a house fire.

But when they arrived at the property shortly before 10pm they found there was little danger to life or limb - just the smouldering remains of a relationship.

A young woman was burning her ex-boyfriend's clothes on the front lawn.

The firefighters, from Sockburn station, reminded the woman her "pyre'' breached city bylaws banning fires in the open and had it extinguished within minutes.