Fire and Emergency NZ is urging people to "keep looking while you're cooking" after one of two kitchen fires in Whanganui on Sunday destroyed a Puriri St home.

Firefighters were called to the Gonville property at 6.51pm after unattended cooking in the kitchen of the house started the fire.

"The kitchen and living room were well involved," Station officer Shane Dudley said.

No one was home at the time.

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"The message from this one is to keep looking while you're cooking."

Dudley said there was fire damage to half the house while the rest of the property had severe smoke and heat damage.

Firefighters had the fire under control within about 10 minutes of arriving and took about an hour to put it out.

The Puriri St fire followed a less serious kitchen fire in Glasgow St earlier in the day.

"Our big message is to keep looking and if you're going out to turn cooking off," Dudley said.