The Taranaki town of Stratford is rallying around a family of four who are homeless after a fire destroyed their home.
Emergency services were called to the Broadway address at about 11am on Saturday after the family arrived home from a soccer game to find the house on fire.
By the time fire trucks arrived on the scene, the house was already well ablaze.
Stratford chief fire officer Tony Foley said it took about 20 fire officers 30 minutes to get the fire under control.
Four fire trucks were in attendance with Toko, Eltham and Inglewood stations called on to assist.
Foley said a strong northerly wind was a factor in how fast the fire took hold at the property.
''Unfortunately, the wind was blowing in the wrong direction and blew the fire right through the house,'' he said.
He said at this stage the fire did not appear to be suspicious but a full investigation was underway to ascertain the cause.
Family friend Pete Kieft said the Bronkhorst family were holding up well under the circumstances.
He said the family, who are from South Africa, were due to hold a birthday party for their six-year-old son at the house today, but were now staying with friends.
Kieft said there had already been a great response from the community in terms of offering the family assistance and he was just happy that no one had been hurt.
A Facebook page has been set to co-ordinate donations for the Bronkhorst family.
''We are receiving overwhelming support from Taranaki and the Stratford community. Offers are also coming from as far as Wanganui,'' page admin Sam Mahy said.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/groups/1414090948874131.
- Taranaki Daily News
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