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A Sydney couple who arrived in Queenstown yesterday for a long weekend and a "bit of excitement" got more than they bargained for, watching on in horror as their historic home was destroyed by fire this morning.
Phil and Jane "Chook" George were woken by two friends screaming "Fire" about 7am - within 90 minutes the home they purchased in 2006 and lovingly restored and extended with the help of its former owners, Sarah and John Cameron, was destroyed.
The property, on Lower Shotover Rd, was once the original homestead for the Cloverdale Farm, one of the resort's first dairy farming operations.
Mr Grant told the Otago Daily Times he and his wife were asleep in the detached extension while their friends were sleeping in a bedroom in the original building.
They were woken by smoke alarms, with the fire appearing to have started in the ceiling.
The fire was attended by volunteer firefighters from Arrowtown, Frankton and Queenstown.
Two men were taken by ambulance to Lakes District Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Mr Grant said it was the third incident at the property in a week - last weekend one of the oldest trees on the site fell over, crushing a glass house and on Friday the water was turned on to the home, with a burst pipe causing flooding.
Despite the loss of the property and their belongings, Mr Grant paid tribute to the fire crews who were "efficient, effective, diligent and compassionate".