A Taupo woman has described screaming sirens and billowing smoke when she came across a house on fire a few streets away from her own.
Barbara Moore says she headed down the street from her Fairview Terrace home shortly after 11am when she heard wailing sirens from her backyard.
"I figured there was something bad going on," she said.
A few roads over on Arrowsmith Ave, in Waipahihi, a two-storey house was well ablaze. Moore said there was a lot of smoke and flames were billowing out of all the windows.
"The man apparently worked nights and he had been in bed just before the fire started," she said.
Moore said the house looked beyond repair when she had wandered back to take a look after lunchtime.
"It was all still smouldering and the area taped off, so people can't get in there."
A Fire and Emergency northern communications spokesperson said four fire trucks rushed to the scene at 11.10am to battle the blaze.
Fire investigators were now looking into what caused the fire.