A teenager in the Canterbury town of Fairlie, woke this morning to find an armed man starting a fire in the house.
The homeowner alerted the police shortly before 6.30 am saying the man, armed with a firearm, fled after being disturbed.
Police are at the scene, including a police dog and handler.
The homeowner said the man started a small fire in the house before fleeing, and they managed to extinguish it themselves.
The man is described as tall, medium build, wearing dark clothing, gumboots, with something covering his face.