A New Plymouth house at the centre of an armed offenders squad callout has been burned to the ground.
Police this morning confirmed the Paritutu Rd property, which a witness says was "levelled" by the blaze, was the same house which two weeks ago was cordoned off for 11 hours as officers negotiated with a man.
He was eventually arrested.
The fire was being treated as suspicious, police said.
Just after 12.30am today, the house erupted in flames, with local man Craig Jeffrey, of Extreme Weather Taranaki, woken by a strong smell of smoke wafting through his window.
"I looked out the window ... and there's this big red glow and the sky was just full of flames. Wow ... that house isn't going to be saved by any stretch. It's just fully munted."
As he recorded video, a number of explosions could be heard, forcing him to retreat away from the blaze.
Jeffery told the Herald it was a pretty shocking experience.
"That doesn't happen to you every day. It was just a shock because you wake up in the middle of the night because you smell smoke ... and you're just hit with this wall of flames, it was like it was at the back door of the neighbours."
He had been back down to the scene this morning and described the house as being "levelled".
"The roof has caved in on it and all you've got is a corrugated roof, just looks like a pancake on the ground. All the front yard and everything there is just like that fire dust that you get after a bush fire has been through."
A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said the fire was escalated to a second alarm, meaning extra appliances were brought in from Oakura and Inglewood.
There were people inside the house at the time but they managed to escape without serious injury, he said. One was understood to have been treated for smoke inhalation.
Police are also at the scene.