A devastating fire can strike anywhere, even at a chief fire officer's house.
That was just what happened to Omakau fire chief Sam Leask on Tuesday night after a farm house on his property caught fire and was destroyed.
Mr Leask had been at home when he heard the fire siren go off and after running outside he could see the fire was at his rental property next door. "I just couldn't believe it."
He rushed to the property to find the fire "going end to end" before firefighters arrived.
"There was a tremendous amount of heat coming out, everything was burning at once," Mr Leask said.
His first fear was that the family who rented the property were home but after finding their vehicle missing he was relieved to discover they were away for the night. Ken Lake, who had lived at the house for five years, had been working in the Maniototo at the time of the fire.
- The Southland Times