A fire investigator may return to the scene of a large residential fire in Rotorua on Saturday morning as investigations into the cause of the blaze continue.
Police and Fire and Emergency NZ staff were alerted of a fire at a property on Homedale St about 12.55pm. The fire was completely out by 2.42pm.
Both emergency service organisations have confirmed they have opened investigations into the fire.
Earlier a Fire and Emergency spokeswoman said two fire appliances were initially sent to the scene.
The house was "well-involved" when crews arrived, but all occupants of the house were accounted for.
She said a fire investigator was at the scene.
Flames and black smoke were billowing from the house as fire crews battled the blaze.
A Homedale St resident told the Rotorua Daily Post she was two houses away and could feel the heat from the fire.
"I didn't realise until I saw some workmen from down the road running towards it," she said.
"The house was fully ablaze and there was smoke pouring out the doors and windows.
"It is a bit scary. It's really tragic, it's an elderly woman who lives there and we've been neighbours for years."
Another resident said he was sitting on his balcony having a cigarette when he saw a lady out on the road.
"She went to go back in and that's when she noticed the smoke and flames," he said.
"She was terrified. It was a serious fire and now it looks like a family has lost their home and all their belongings."
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he'd known the owner of the house for seven or eight years.
"She's lost just about everything now."
Two residents said they heard a crash, and saw the flames.
"We ran for the hoses."
According to witnesses, residents in the house next door turned their own hoses on to the blaze.
"I hope it's something I never have to see again."
More to come.