Nobody was inside when a house caught fire on Paterson St in Whanganui at approximately 10.25am on Monday morning.
Three fire trucks from the Whanganui Fire Station attended the scene in Aramoho and were able to bring the fire under control in about 15 minutes.
Station officer Shane Dudley said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"We had a fire in the ceiling, making it inherently difficult to extinguish," Dudley said.
"It caused signficant smoke and water damage to the whole house."
The house was on a back section between Caffray Ave and Lewis Ave.
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he was on his way home from physio when a fire engine passed him.
"This was down at about Field St and I saw a little bit of smoke. I thought 'it's probably just a rubbish fire' and I jokingly thought 'I hope it's not my place'".
Whanganui fire officers were still at the house late on Monday afternoon checking for hotspots and confirming what caused the fire to ignite.