The heat on Saturday was turned a notch after a fire ripped through a former Bay of Plenty pack house, taking hours to put out.
Corrugated iron sheets and the burnt shells of cars and tractors charred ruins after a former kiwifruit pack house burnt to the ground.
Emergency services were called to Ross Ware Dr in Athenree around 11.05am and arrived to the site completely engulfed in flames, with dark smoke billowing high into the sky.
A Fire and Emergency NZ spokeswoman said a crew of five fire engines and two water tankers battled the blaze for six hours.
She confirmed an excavator came to pull down the building.
The packhouse had been used for storage for the last nine years and the owner said the destruction would not impact any of the output.
It stored cars and tractors, all of which now just rubble.
Two homes were directly beside the site of the fire. One tenant worked for the owner of the former packhouse and surrounding orchards, and the other owned an avocado orchard that had product distributed locally and exported.
"It would have devastated the crop and we haven't picked yet so the export crop would have been destroyed," said owner of the avocado orchard, Tanya Carmine.
The family was enjoying brunch on Saturday morning and was interrupted by the smell of smoke.
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Her husband ran out through the orchard and came back telling them to urgently call 111.
"It was pretty scary, I felt sorry for them," she said of the owners.
She said with the scale of the fire, it was "very lucky" no one was hurt.
"There was a concern in my mind, are we going to go up?"
She said they stood about 50 metres from the blaze and watched anxiously as the flames came within metres of the hedge which led to their property.
But the heat of the flames was too intense to handle and they needed to move.
"It was massive.
"I didn't expect the way [the smoke and flames] went all through the roof ... and just the explosions, it was like, woah," she said.
The bangs went on for a while, she said.
"It shook the house," her son said, and glass rattled inside their home in reaction to the small explosions.
Even after the fire had been put out, ash and fibreglass still fell around their property, and Carmine said it left her feeling uneasy another fire may spring up again.
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named said "it was chaotic, and all happened pretty quickly".
He saw a tractor on fire and said there were about 10 cars and tractors in the corrugated building.
He, like Carmine, watched anxiously as fire fighters fought to contain and put out the blaze which would have destroyed his home and all his belongings had it spread any further.
He currently did not have water and suspected this would be the case for about a week.
A Fire and Emergency NZ spokeswoman said a fire investigator was at the site last night but it was too early to know yet what the cause was.
Fire investigator Luke Burgess said the blaze was not being treated as suspicious and investigations were ongoing to determine the cause.
He said firefighters had struggled initially with tracking down a water supply to connect too, which was common in rural areas.
Anyone planning to build in a rural area should consider installing a water supply nearby in case of emergency for firefighters, he said.