Police and fire investigators this morning are sifting through the remains of a large old timber home in Byron Bay which was destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon.
The house, on the corner of Kingsley and Massinger Streets, was a guesthouse which was more than 100 years old, and went up in flames in a matter of minutes soon after 2.30pm.
Byron Bay fire crews raced to the scene and prevented the blaze spreading to neighbouring homes. They were soon joined by crews from Bangalow and Brunswick Heads in containing the intense flames.
No-one was in the old Queensland-style home at the time and the owners, according to neighbours, came home from lunch in Bangalow only to find their home ablaze and fire crews containing it.
Residents told media they heard an explosion and rushed to the street to see the house engulfed by large flames.
Neighbours were screaming for help fearing their homes would catch alight as a result of the intense heat. A nearby power line fell onto the street and power was cut off.
NSW Fire and Rescue crews and police kept watch on the smouldering ruins overnight.
A cleanup is expected to begin this morning once forensic specialists have determined the cause of the fire, which is unknown at this stage.