Blaze which destroyed farmhouse 'suspicious'

A fire which destroyed a farmhouse near Balclutha is being treated as suspicious.

Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman Andrew Norris said it was called to the blaze about 2.30pm and appliances from Balclutha and Clutha Valley arrived to find the farmhouse well-involved in flames.

The firefighters managed to protect a garage, but a reporter at the scene said the 10m by 20m house was completely destroyed.

The blaze, which was contained about 3.30pm, was being treated as suspicious and a fire investigator had been requested, but was not yet on the way because there had been so many fires across the South, Mr Norris said.

A reporter at the scene said at least 16 firefighters, two appliances, a rural fire water tanker and an operational support unit were at the scene of the blaze at a property on Smith's Track.

At least 16 firefighters, two appliances, a rural fire water tanker and an operational support...
At least 16 firefighters, two appliances, a rural fire water tanker and an operational support unit were at the scene of the blaze on Smith's Track near Hillend. Photo: John Cosgrove
The farmhouse had been completely destroyed and firefighters, some wearing breathing apparatus, were still working to contain the blaze after 3pm.

The farm house was not occupied as a family which had lived in it for decades had recently moved out.

The house was still connected to power and phone lines.

Firefighters work to contain the blaze. Photo: John Cosgrove
Firefighters work to contain the blaze. Photo: John Cosgrove
A Powernet contractor was at the scene.

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