An elderly lady was in tears this afternoon as her Hamilton house was gutted by fire.
Neighbours said the woman, who was shaken but uninjured, lived in the house in Nawton with her two grandchildren.
Windows exploded as the fire roared. A pile of burned sheets and a backpack sat outside, blackened by fire.
Neighbour Nicola Rivers was one of about 50 onlookers who gathered on the street to witness the destruction.
‘‘[The elderly lady] jumped the fence, knocked on our door saying there was a fire, and then by the time we got outside the whole house was on fire.’’
The blaze was so big that neighbour Paul Phillips took precautions to protect nearby houses from catching alight.
The house was off the road and surrounded by neighbouring properties.
‘‘I came out and it was real hot. I wet our fence and the neighbours fence because they had started to smoke. The fence on the other side of their house actually caught fire,’’ he said.
"There were windows popping and flames coming out," said Tony Phillips.
Waikato area commander Roy Breeze said the fire began in the kitchen area, though it was too early to say what caused it.
‘‘There were a mother and daughter in the house but nobody has been hurt. It came through real quick unfortunately."
Fire communications spokesperson Scott Osmond said the call came in just before 4pm, and three crews rushed to the scene.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious.
View marriage and birth notices from around the region
View obituaries from around the region