Fire and Emergency NZ and the police are treating the fire that destroyed a house in Kaka St, Ahipara, early on Thursday morning as arson.
The alarm was raised at 3.28am and two crews from the Ahipara Fire Brigade fought the blaze, with reinforcements from Kaitaia.
A crew and an appliance from Whangārei arrived later in the morning.
Little more than the rear wall was still standing by the time the fire was brought under control, but firefighters protected two neighbouring properties that were threatened at the height of the blaze.
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"It was roaring when we got there," Ahipara's chief fire officer Dave Ross said.
"We believe the flames went up an interior stairwell, and there was no way we could save it. We did manage to contain it, but that was all we could do."
Fire investigator Craig Bain, who examined the remains of the house on Thursday morning, said he had no doubt that the fire had been deliberately lit.
"None of the circumstances point to it being accidental," he said, adding that he had found no evidence of accelerants, but that did not mean they had not been used.
The fire had started inside the house, on the lower level.
No one was home at the time of the fire, and it's believed the house was owned by a Far North man who used it over summer.
It was the seventh serious house fire in the Far North in the past two months.