A Far North man whose rented house was destroyed by fire early yesterday morning, escaped unscathed, but lost everything.

Jason Brain moved to Waipapakauri Ramp, north of Kaitaia, from the Bay of Plenty and had been living in the house for more than four years. He scrambled out of his bedroom window after he was woken by the sound of the fire.

Smoke had reached his bedroom by that stage, but not flames.

He was left standing in his underwear, he said, so his first priority after the fire was extinguished was to borrow some clothing. His car, which was parked near the house, was severely damaged by heat and flames. Brain did not have contents insurance.


The Kaitaia Fire Brigade was called at 12.48am. Chief Fire Officer Craig Rogers said neighbouring houses had not been threatened, but strong winds had created the potential for the remains of the house, which were still standing, to re-ignite, although that did not happen.

The Houhora brigade also responded, dispatching a water tanker because Kaitaia's was unavailable.

It appeared the fire had started in the lounge, at the opposite end of the house from the bedroom, Rogers said, but the remains had yet to be examined by a fire investigator.

Brain, who was taken in by his brother, who also lives at Waipapakauri Ramp, said he wasn't sure what his next move would be, although he could move to Russell, where he knew of a property available for rent.