Mrs Webby had just put a log on the fire and was sitting beside it when she heard two "big booms" and sparks started flicking out. "It went up the roof and that's when I ran outside, it started flicking out on the lawn. I yelled at my sister-in-law, 'what should I do?' And she called the ambulance and told me not to go back inside.
The scene of the fire on State Highway 5 Reporoa. Photo/Ben Fraser
Rotorua Fire Brigade senior station officer Jim Prescott said they had been called to the fire at 11.59am. "Upon arrival we found the house fully involved in flames and the brigade took eight minutes to put out." He said the house was evacuated and there were no injuries. Mr Prescott said it was difficult to battle the fire because there were no fire hydrants in the area. An extra tanker had to be called in.
Firefighters dampen down the house. Photo/Ben Fraser
Mrs Webby's sister-in-law, Jane Phillips, lives behind her house and was very sad to see the property in front of her burn. "I rang the fire brigade and went down and got her (Mrs Webby's) husband and I made sure no one went back in. "It's especially devastating for her," she said.
Mrs Webby's niece who lives across from her heard the fire start. "We thought it was gun shots. When we got here the flames were in the roof and when the fire brigade got here the fire went boom and all the ceiling was covered. "It's really sad. They don't deserve this. They don't harm anyone. They just go about their day-to-day lives," she said.