A Reporoa family has been left with nothing but each other and the clothes on their backs after waking in the middle of the night to their home ablaze.
At 2.25am yesterday, a fire ripped through Hayley Wing's Settlers Rd home and now she, her husband and two children have nothing but the pyjamas they were wearing when the fire broke out.
"My husband woke up and heard some cracking and fire alarms and we just ran," Wing said.
"We grabbed the boys and that's it."
Two fire crews from Rotorua and one water tanker from Taupō were sent to the property to extinguish the fire.
It was all over by 3.10am.
But it is only the beginning for Wing and her family.
"It's [the house] pretty much gutted. Our bedrooms don't look too bad but they are water damaged and covered in soot.
"The front of the house is pretty much gone."
The house had been the family's home for the past four years.
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Wing said she was able to stay with her mother in Rotorua in the meantime and she had already started to work on her insurance claim.
"We are just going to get some clothes and shoes from the shop and then we should be good to go again."
Her fighting spirit was clear because the most important thing was her sons Lachlan, 8, and Alexander, 6, were okay.
"We tried to keep it all pretty calm. I don't think it will hit them [the boys] until a little bit later when they go to find something and they realise it is gone."
While she knows most of her possessions are lost, she hopes some precious metals are okay.
"I left my wedding rings in the bedroom so hopefully they are all right.
"Fingers crossed they are only water damaged, but our photos and stuff are in the lounge so they are all gone.
"Thank goodness for Facebook!"
The fire is not being treated as suspicious, but Fire and Emergency NZ Central Lakes assistant area manager Hamish Smith said the house was a "total loss".
A fire investigator had worked at the scene since the fire broke out and had informed Smith the cause was undetermined at this stage.
Water damage was not the only thing that deemed the house a "total loss" - the smoke damage would work its way into everything, Smith said.
"It is highly unlikely they will be able to salvage personal items.
"Sometimes you can have things commercially cleaned but any sort of material-based fabric, whether it be curtains or bed bases, they absorb the smoke and it is extremely hard to remove.
Smith did have one piece of good news.
"I'm sure the wedding ring and finger are reunited again now if she knows where she left them."
He said while it didn't give them all their possessions back, it was good the couple had insurance.
"While we try our best to save what we can, what wasn't in their favour is the property is rural.
"It was 27 minutes before the first fire appliance got from Rotorua to Reporoa.
"The speed of fire in that 27 to 30 minutes and the size and pace it consumes the house is something I can't put into words. It just happens so fast."
Smith said there were no fire services between Rotorua or Taupō and, unfortunately, it would be unsustainable to train a group of volunteers to work between the areas based on the low number of callouts.
Smith stressed the importance of smoke alarms .
"In this scenario, they awoke to the alarm, didn't panic and were able to get to their two children and get safely out long before the smoke got down and the fire got as big as it got.
"Have your smoke alarms, have your escape plans and do it with some urgency."
He said fires were more common in winter because of a higher number of heat sources.
The Rotorua Fire Station was always open if any residents needed help securing smoke alarms and escape plans, he said.
How to keep safe in a fire
• When you're asleep, you lose your sense of smell, so have smoke alarms.
• Specialised smoke alarms are available for people with hearing impairments.
• Make an escape plan.
• Remember the heater-metre rule.