Christopher Allan Norman appeared in the Blenheim District Court this morning charged with setting fire to his Witherlea home on Saturday night.
The attack on the rental property gutted the house.
The 30-year-old Blenheim man appeared before justice of the peace Catherine Bristed, who remanded him in custody until his next appearance in the court on September 9.
''This is a category three offence - that is one of a very serious nature,'' she said.
The maximum pentalty for the offence is 14 years' jail.
Norman has been in custody since he was arrested after the fire. His address listed on the charge sheet is the same address as the gutted house.
He was wearing blue hooded overalls during the short court appearance this morning, where he stood quietly in the dock.
Fire was noticed in the two bedroom Rata Pl house about 7.20pm on Saturday, spreading throughout the house and also causing extensive damage to two cars on the property.
Police said no one was home at the time of the fire.
A neighbour said she was sitting in her lounge when she heard a series of loud bangs.
''It sounded like an explosion. I looked out the window and the house was just engulfed in flames,'' she said.
Her friend called the fire brigade but they had already been alerted and five fire appliances arrived not long after.
''They were amazing, they arrived within 10 minutes,'' she said.
Other neighbours tried to help by calling 111, checking on other neighbours and some even got their hoses out in an attempt to try to dampen the flames.
Blenheim chief fire officer Rob Dalton said the house was totally overwhelmed by fire when the brigade arrived.
Police and the Fire Service are investigating.
- © Fairfax NZ News