The owner of a rental property destroyed by fire this afternoon says she is grateful her tenants got out unscathed.

The house, on Queen St, is owned by Te Puke identities Shirley and Des McGregor who also own the Te Puke Hotel and Molly O'Connor's Bar and Restaurant.

Shirley said the fire was a tragedy, but she was grateful her tenants had got out safely.

"From the damage it's done to the kitchen and into the wash-house and the roof, there's only one thing to do, and that's get rid of it," she said. "You can't do much to a place when it's like that can you?"

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Shirley said she had been down to have a look at the house while firefighters were still at the scene.

"We went into the cordoned off area, and it was still smoking, so [the fire's] probably gone into the rafters - but there you are; things happen don't they?"

The McGregors had owned the house for 15 years but had never lived in it themselves, instead of renting it initially to friends and then to a succession of tenants.

"There is a lot of history in the house. I still can't believe it's happened."

Six people lived in the Queen St home, but only two men were inside at the time the fire broke out.

One of the men, who did not want to be named, said he was in his room when he heard the smoke alarm go off.

He said his friend was sleeping at the time, but both of them managed to escape.

The man's car was parked outside of the home and had been damaged at the front by smoke and heat.

The fire spread quickly through the timber weatherboard home, which is next to the Te Puke Medical Centre. The street was closed, and the medical centre was evacuated as firefighters fought the blaze.

Amy Pathak was waiting to see the doctor when the medical centre was evacuated.

"I saw it raging, and I was pretty concerned. It is close to a car, and we thought that it might go," she said.

"It looked like it was in the roof."

A witness was worried that a car parked in the driveway was being damaged by the flames. Photo / Stuart Whitaker
A witness was worried that a car parked in the driveway was being damaged by the flames. Photo / Stuart Whitaker
A firefighter at the scene of the house fire in Te Puke. Photo / Stuart Whitaker
A firefighter at the scene of the house fire in Te Puke. Photo / Stuart Whitaker