Two people were forced to flee for their lives after a property became engulfed in flames in Palmerston North this afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the scene at the corner of Limbrick and Leicester street just after 2pm.

A fire communications spokeswoman said one person had been treated for smoke inhalation and burns.

She said the fire had now been extinguished and the matter had been left in the hands of Housing New Zealand.


Three fire trucks had attended the scene.

Witness, Fiona Giles, told Fairfax it was, "so quick, like nothing I have ever seen".

Natalie Burt, who works a few houses down from the house, said she had seen people running out of the house.

"It went up very fast, it was up and gone in minutes," she told Fairfax.

"It was a few bangs, it started off with grey smoke and then it went black, then it was gone - the whole thing was just completely gone.

"The [occupant] was on his knees, just devastated. It just went up."

Ms Burt said a vehicle that had been sitting outside the property was blue prior to the fire but by the end of the ordeal it was white after the paint had burnt off.

It is believed unattended cooking may have been the cause of the blaze.