A PORT Macquarie family has escaped their burning home without injury after what is believed to be an electrical fault sparked a fire that engulfed the property and destroyed it.
The fire erupted just before 6pm, on Wednesday, December 9, at the Granite Street home.
Four occupants fled the burning building with the assistance of neighbours and within minutes, the home was well alight.
Acting station officer Neil Murray said the fire, as is expected in an older home, burned quickly and fiercely.
Fire and Rescue's Port Macquarie unit received back-up from Wauchope crews and the HAZMAT team
Sixteen firefighters battled the blaze for almost two hours before it was extinguished about 8pm.
"It was well alight by the time we got there," Mr Murray said.
"As normally expected, once fire takes hold in an older style home it's a rapid ascension. There were people home but when we got there we got the all clear from the neighbours who said everyone was out along with the tenants.
"Being safety conscious, we were a lot more relaxed in firefighting knowing no one was inside."
Mr Murray said it took crews almost an hour to bring the blaze to a manageable level but it was a "deep-seeded fire" that eventually caused a partial collapse of the structure.
The home has been 90 per cent gutted.
"We did everything the way we are trained to do. We have to be mindful of the solar on rooftops and whether they are connected or not when sun comes up in morning. The panels start generating electricity and still energise the wires," Mr Murray said.
"With the level of damage to the roof, we were not comfortable putting a crew up there to activate the safety switch. We mediate that by declaring the property unsafe until a structural engineer has been in to assess it."
No neighbouring properties were damaged.
Mr Murray said the fire generated large quantities of black smoke and HAZMAT stepped in to mitigate the presence of asbestos
"This was not a suspicious fire by any means," Mr Murray said.
"We've done our investigation and are comfortable it was an electrical fault of some description."
The 16-strong fire crew was supported by the Fire and Rescue zone commander from Region North 1, NSW Police and Essential Energy.
Ambulance NSW was on scene to assess the occupants who were suffering smoke inhalation and shock.
A spokesperson for the family said they are all thankfully safe but in "total shock" their home has been destroyed.
A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family. CLICK HERE to make a donation.