Police are investigating a fire that destroyed a house bus in Kaitaia.

The alarm was raised at 1.07am on Tuesday, with the Kaitaia Fire Brigade crew that responded having no chance of saving the vehicle.

Neighbours said a couple had been living in the bus, parked on what used to be the Firth Concrete property in Dunn St, but had not been there for a week or more. Police have since made contact with the owner.

Meanwhile a house fire at Ahipara on Monday afternoon was not suspicious, according to senior fire risk management officer Gary Beer, but it offered a lesson to others.

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The fire, which began on a deck at the rear of the house, had been started by a cloth that had been used to apply a linseed oil-like substance to a floor and table, Beer said, and was left on the deck, where it spontaneously combusted.

Cloths used to apply oil and stains to floors and furniture needed to be treated with great care, he added, his advice being to wash them in water and hang them outside to dry.
"This sort of fire is not uncommon. I've been to heaps of them," he said.

The flames had damaged the exterior of the house and a nearby shed, and had begun making their way into the kitchen before the occupant and the Ahipara Fire Brigade got the fire under control. Kaitaia Fire Brigade also responded.

The outcome could have been worse because the fire was close to reaching flashpoint when the Ahipara appliance arrived, Beer said.