About 60 firefighters and 18 trucks were called out to a "suspicious" fire that destroyed several buildings and threatened a historic home at Morpeth.
Emergency services were called just after 10pm Friday to a seminary on Morpeth Road. Fire and Rescue NSW Lower Hunter Inspector Roger Whight said crews arrived to find three derelict buildings "totally involved" in flames.
Lower Hunter Fire and Rescue Inspector Roger Whight said the intense blaze resulted in a "third alarm" being called.
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"Which is a significant amount of appliances," he said.
"Morpeth and East Maitland were the first to arrive and we had crews from Newcastle and all through the Lower Hunter.
"It was a significant fire and we had some issues with water supply. The nearest large main was down on Morpeth Road so we had to pump to a truck, which pumped to another truck."
The blaze took hold near the almost 200-year-old Closebourne House, and Inspector Whight said crews prioritised the protection of that and other nearby buildings that were threatened.
The derelict buildings were destroyed, but there was no one inside at the time and no injuries were sustained.
It took firefighters about four hours to fully extinguish the blaze before the scene was handed over to police.
Inspector Whight said the fire being well advanced by the time crews arrived made it difficult to determine what caused the blaze.
Port Stephens-Hunter police attended and established a crime scene.
While the cause of the fire remains unknown, it is being treated as suspicious.
As investigations continue, anyone with information is urged to contact Port Stephens-Hunter Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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