A home in the Far North has been left a burnt-out shell while the owner of the property is overseas.
Mangonui's Chief Fire Officer Ant Pederson suspected there would be little chance of saving the two-storey house on Pariri Road, Oruru, even before he reached the scene on Sunday night.
And so it proved, with the glow from the flames lighting up the whole valley, he said. Firefighters had no show of bringing it under control when they did arrive at the isolated spot.
The alarm was raised by the tenants at 9.45pm, Mr Pederson saying an exploding solar panel battery had added to the inferno.
The cause was initially suspected to involve a generator, although that had not been confirmed by fire investigators yesterday afternoon.
The Mangonui Fire Brigade dispatched two appliances and its water tanker, with Kaitaia sending a third appliance.
The crews pumped 47,000 litres of water onto the blaze.
Much of the water had to be pumped from a nearby farm dam.
The Northland Age understands that the owner of the house, which was not insured, was overseas.
The Mangonui firefighters did not leave the scene until around 2.30am yesterday, and were called back at 6.30am when people at the scene reported that the remains appeared likely to reignite.