A Rotorua Daily Post reporter at the scene said the fire had destroyed a large shed about 40m by 40m and what looked to be at least three classic cars and a large truck could be seen among the rubble. A house on the property hadn't been damaged.
Damage from a fire at a Paradise Valley property last night. Photo / Kelly Makiha
A Bay of Plenty Regional Council worker arrived at the property just before 9am and said they had been called to check if contaminants had leaked into the nearby steam.
A neighbouring couple, who didn't want to be named, said they were asleep with their ranch slider door open about 11pm when they heard a massive bang that woke them up. "I thought someone had slammed the door," the woman said. They then looked outside and saw the fire. "It just went boom. Then there were five to six big booms."
Classic cars are among the damage in a Paradise Valley fire. Photo / Andrew Warner
Eight fire appliances and four tankers were sent to the scene.
A large house fire broke out on Paradise Valley Road, in Rotorua, about 11pm. Photo / Supplied
Martin said the building on fire was a "workman's shed". "It was huge and crazy hot. The shed had gas canisters and chemicals so there were quite a few explosions, it was pretty freaky. "It was away from the house but it burnt out all the neighbouring trees and stuff. There is a guy who stays in the shed so we were a bit worried someone was in there but thankfully not." There were initial reports of people inside the home, but it was later established that the residents were not at home when the fire broke out.
Local resident Alley James said he and his neighbours were walking around their properties about 11pm because they could smell the smoke and he and his mother-in-law up the hill and another neighbour down the road were walking around their properties checking to see if the smoke smell was coming from near them. "Twenty minutes later a loud bang was heard. Originally, I thought it was just a hunter shooting a high powered rifle. All of a sudden a massive explosion was not only heard but felt as well. "Flames licked the night sky as the surrounding trees and foliage were set ablaze." He described the smell as being like plastic burning. He said neighbours all rushed to call emergency services. James, who had lived in the area for 16 years, said he didn't know the people who lived at the house and understood they hadn't been there long.