The sound of shattering glass woke up neighbours as a “huge fire” engulfed a Tauranga home this morning.
A Pampas Grove resident, who did not want to be named, told the Bay of Plenty Times she woke to the sound of “glass breaking” at around 5.45am thinking her car was being broken into.
“The sound of glass breaking was so loud it literally woke me up from my sleep. So I went to look out the window and then I saw the huge fire a couple of houses down.”
She said her whole family then woke up and headed to their driveway to get a better look at the blaze.
“I was in disbelief. I’ve never seen a house fire before. There are no words for it.
Embers from the blaze in Welcome Bay were flying onto their car and there was a “strong” smell of smoke which saturated their clothing, she said.
“It was well engulfed when I saw it. We were all awake – so we were ready to leave if we needed to,” she said.
“I have just chucked the clothes that we wore out there into the wash because they all stunk of smoke.”
She also said ash from the fire was still blowing onto their property.
Asked about the size of the fire, the woman said did not know but the two-story house was “fully in flames”.
She understood there was no one living at the house at the time of the fire and it had previously been a rental property.
“I just hope they are insured and hope they are okay. It’s shocking news to find out your house is on fire. I mean that’s your investment.”
The neighbour who raised the alarm, who would not be named, was awoken to the blaze around 5am this morning by shattering glass.
”I thought what the heck was that? I thought maybe it was my house and saw the flames next door.
”It was from woah to go in no time. In 30 minutes or so that’s what’s left.”
He said firefighters arrived quickly and stopped it from spreading further.
Cabbage trees on the edge of the property next to the man’s had its leaves singed but they had not caught flame.
The man said the side of his garage was red hot during the fire but it did not appear to be damaged.
The house was empty, he said.