Homeowner loses everything as Motueka house goes up in flames
A Motueka man watched everything he owns go up in smoke as fire destroyed his house.
Jeff Tait said he was in bed at his Queen Victoria St house on Tuesday morning when he was woken by the sound of popping glass.
He opened the door to his bedroom to find the house was "full of black smoke.
"I just went outside and called 111, then I got a garden hose and tried to put it out but it was too hot and I started to get burned."
Tait was later treated by ambulance officers for minor burns to his face and hands.
He had owned the wooden home for 35 years and said he lost everything he owned in the fire, including several of his carvings.
Neighbour Richard Hovenden, whose house had to be dampened to stop the fire spreading, said he was devastated for his long-time neighbour.
"He's lost everything in that fire, his whole life was in there. Just imagine if you lost your whole life in a few hours?"
The alarm was raised about 11.30am on Tuesday.
Motueka Volunteer Fire Brigade deputy chief fire officer Mike Compton said the house was fully alight when the brigade arrived.
The roof of the house collapsed and only the backyard shed was likely to be saved, he said.
Firefighters had to wear breathing apparatus to fight the blaze, and later used a boom extension to get closer to the fire which erupted in flames again about 12.50pm.
As well as three Motueka appliances, crews from Richmond, Upper Moutere and Mapua attended. A total of 25 firefighters were at the scene.
Traffic diversions were in place at King Edward St, College St and Wildman Rd.
Police asked motorists to avoid the area.
Compton said fire safety officers had been called to investigate the cause, but the house was too dangerous to enter at this stage.