Residents have described the panic after a "big boom" rocked their neighbourhood when a house exploded in fire this afternoon.

A gas leak or bottle exploding was understood to be the cause of the loud bang before fire took hold of the house in Garton Drive, Massey.

The fire quickly spread to a neighbouring property that has also been extensively damaged.

Neighbour Pamela Baucke was in her lounge when she heard a "big boom".

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"I heard it and naturally ran to the front of the house to see the smoke and fire pouring out of the house," she said.

"Everyone came running out on to the street to make sure everyone was out of the house."

Baucke said the woman who lives at the house was in Tonga with her mother and her husband was at work when the fire broke out.

Their older teenage sons were not at home.

"As soon as we got out there we figured out there was no one home but then everyone was yelling for the neighbours to get out."

"They were running and jumping over the fence."

Neighbour Pamela Baucke heard a huge boom and then saw smoke and flames billowing from the Garton Drive house. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Neighbour Pamela Baucke heard a huge boom and then saw smoke and flames billowing from the Garton Drive house. Photo / Jason Oxenham

One person at the scene was treated for smoke inhalation but there were no reports of other injuries.

Multiple calls were made to emergency services and several neighbours stretched garden hoses to try to contain the fire until appliances arrived.

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The house on Garton Drive has been destroyed by fire and the house next door also damaged. Photo / Dean Purcell
The house on Garton Drive has been destroyed by fire and the house next door also damaged. Photo / Dean Purcell

"I know how quickly fire takes hold but until you actually see it - it was just so quick."

"It shows how important it is to have smoke detectors and an escape plan."

Scott Osmond from Fire and Emergency NZ said six appliances were sent to Garton Drive just after 2.30pm.

Fires at both houses have been contained, Osmond said, and fire officers were assisting with salvage.

No cause of the fire has yet been determined and a fire investigator is in attendance.