A 73-year-old man has died, a home has been "gutted" and a Fenton St motel extensively damaged in a spate of serious building fires in Rotorua.
A Rotorua fire investigator is reminding residents about the importance of smoke alarms and getting out quickly after three fires in three days.
On Wednesday, a man was critically injured in a bedroom fire at Cantabria Lifecare and Village in Springfield.
The 73-year-old died in Rotorua Hospital on Thursday morning, police confirmed that night. He was the only person injured in the fire, and the death was being reported to the coroner.
Emergency services including fire, ambulance and police staff responded to the blaze. The fire was already out when firefighters arrived.
On Thursday, five fire crews were called to a fire at the Golden Glow Motel on Fenton St.
No one was injured but the motel's roof collapsed, damaging the second floor, and 11 Ministry of Social Development emergency housing clients had to be relocated.
Midmorning yesterday, five fire crews were called to a house fire on Seddon St in Glenholme that was threatening a neighbouring property. No one was injured.
Homeowner Lara Northcroft, an associate producer on TV series Vegas, told the Rotorua Daily Post her adult children usually lived in the Glenholme house, but they were away for a New Year's break.
Her sister was house-sitting with her dog and was inside when the fire started.
She made it out safely with the help of a neighbour. Her dog hid under the house and managed to survive "somehow", Northcroft said.
"The fire was relentless.
"The insulation kept reigniting the timber. Because it's an old house, it's burnt straight through the ceiling.
"It's gutted everything. The whole house is gone."
Northcroft said the fire started in the sleepout, spread to the carport, and then the house.
She was notified of the fire at 11am.
"The fire service were so awesome, they got there so quickly."
She said she and her family had "lots of good support on the ground" from their friends, family, and the community.
"My priority was making sure my family was okay and getting them out of there, because it can be kinda distressing watching that happen."
At this stage, she said the cause of the fire was unknown, although there were suspicions it may have been electrical.
"Not a nice ending to the year, but it's been a pretty s*** year anyway. See you later 2021."
Rotorua Fire Station senior station officer Tony Kelly had said it took about 20 minutes to bring the "high intensity" Seddon St fire under control.
A main concern was making sure neighbouring properties didn't also catch on fire, he said.
"Exposure to neighbouring properties is just as important."
A woman at the scene, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had seen some smoke and flames. However, she said it appeared the fire brigade had it under control when they arrived.
She said she was worried about her tenants living in the house next door with possible smoke damage, and that there may be more damage to the side of the property than she first thought.
Rotorua Lakes councillor Raj Kumar was in town when he saw smoke "billowing" from the Seddon St area.
"It's a huge fire. It's just engulfed. Smoke's filling up the skyline."
He said when he was at the scene there were many people gathered but he could see police helping to clear them, as well as closing both ends of Seddon St.
Fire safety investigator Lynda McHugh said the fire was not being treated as suspicious.
She said she would need to go back today to investigate and to determine a cause.
She said a dog had been rescued from the fire.
McHugh said the Golden Glow Motel fire was believed to be accidental.
She said the second floor of the motel was extremely dangerous due to holes it now had in it and with the concrete roof collapsing. For safety reasons, she had been unable to go up there and investigate.
"It appears to be accidental. There were a number of electrical items turned on at the time that can't be discounted."
McHugh wanted to remind people of the importance of smoke alarms.
"Whether a motel unit for emergency housing or a domestic dwelling, we highly recommend smoke alarms be installed everywhere.
"Another thing is if there is a fire at your house, don't attempt to take anything from going back inside. Get out, stay away, and don't go back in."
The incidents follow a fire at Four Canoes Hotel on Fenton St on December 19.
The room was well involved when crews arrived, a Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said. Three trucks were sent to the scene and no one was injured.