A faulty fluorescent light sparked a fire that gutted a Rotorua church last week, the fire service has concluded.
The fire service's Hamish Smith said it was the third fire of its kind in five years in the Rotorua/Taupo area.
One of the ministers at St John's Presbyterian Church, Reverend Lance Thomas, told Morning Report he was relieved the fire was not deliberately lit.
He said maintenance at the church was not an issue.
"It's not an old church. The fittings are, by contemporary standards, not old fittings, so I don't think that is an issue either really. It just seems to be something with some fluorescent lights."
Twelve fire trucks from around the district attended the blaze, which threatened nearby houses.
Rotorua resident Neville Raethel, who was at the scene, said flames quickly engulfed the entire building.
"The flames were probably 40 or 50 feet above where the church bell was and as I got closer I could actually see the big church bell housing that they have there was [alight]."
St John's minister Reverend Ed Masters said while the church congregation was deeply upset at the extensive damage to the building, he was thankful no one was hurt.