The smell of smoke lingered in the air after an explosive house fire in Maungatapu.

Residents of Moiri Place watched on as police and emergency services piled into their quiet, suburban backstreet.

At 12.53pm, the Fire Service received multiple calls about the fire. Locals said a loud explosion rang out across the street, followed by billowing smoke covering the area.

A man was heard crying out for help. A woman was seen being comforted by people at the scene.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said a body had been found, but could not be identified as either male or female at this stage.

"There has been a house fire. We do have a body in the premises. We don't know who it is, and we haven't identified them. We will make enquiries over the next day or so, which will include a scene examination, and the removal of the body for a forensic post-mortem."

The fire was contained after Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Greerton fire crews responded, but it took longer to fully extinguish. At least seven fire trucks were present at the scene.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but police will guard the property overnight.

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