Firefighters expect it will take hours to extinguish a large fire at a New Plymouth church.
Crews were called to St Philomena's catholic church on Brooklands Rd shortly before 3pm and firefighters used high pressure hoses to douse the flames.
The church was believed to be empty.
Flames were seen leaping through the roof and windows were heard exploding.
The church neighbours St Pius X primary school and had celebrated its 50th anniversary in September last year.
Strong winds have been hampering the efforts of firefighters and smoke has been pouring from the church.
A large crowd gathered to watch nearby.
- © Fairfax NZ News