'Heartbreaking' to see villa burn
Firefighters spent more than an hour working to contain a blaze at a Devonport villa on Tuesday.
Three fire crews were called to the home in Allenby Ave in Devonport about 9.45am.
No-one was inside when the fire broke out, but neighbours and passers-by witnessed the incident.
Takapuna senior station officer John Sweeney says the cause of the fire is not yet known, but contractors were working on the outside of the home at the time.
He says paint and other building materials were in use.
''The fire has gone up through the wall and into the ceiling.
''Being an old villa the ceiling space is huge and there is very little access for us to get to the seat of the fire,'' Mr Sweeney says.
Firefighters equipped with breathing apparatus from Birkenhead, Takapuna and Devonport stations cut holes in the corrugated iron roof and used a high-pressure pump to douse the flames.
''Removing the iron is a slow process and it is very hot inside for the guys,'' Mr Sweeney says.
There were three seats to the fire that extended throughout the front rooms of the home, Mr Sweeney says, and the volume of water used will have caused further damage.
A neighbour said the blaze would be ''devastating'' for the family.
''It is a beautiful old villa so to see this happening is just heartbreaking.''