A body has been found in the remains of a house fire in Nelson, police say.
Emergency services from around the region were called out just after 4am to the blaze in a single-storey house on a back section behind a church, on Main Road in Stoke.
Senior Sergeant Blair Hall said formal identification was yet to take place.
He said it could take some days, given the severity of the fire.
A second person reported to be living at the property, who was earlier unaccounted for, was not there at the time, and is safe.
Family of those who lived at the property have been informed.
The chief fire officer of Stoke's Volunteer Fire Brigade, Tane Simpson, said it was a very challenging location, about 100m off the main road, and it took some time getting a water supply to the site.
Primary school students at nearby Stoke School were asked to stay inside classrooms because of smoke. The Fire Service has since said it was safe for them to go outside.