Firefighters were able to halt a blaze in Devon before it spread across an attic space and completely destroyed a detached house.
Four appliances attended the fire, in Holsworthy, North Devon, which is thought to have started in a single-storey garage and workshop before leaping across and catching hold of the main building.
No-one was injured in the blaze.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue believe it may have started when a domestic oil tank caught light.
Firefighters and police were called to Trewyn Road, at 9.30am yesterday after the alarm was raised.
The two elderly occupants of the house were not at home at the time.
At one point, four fire crews using an aerial ladder platform tackled the fire.
Police closed the road to traffic for the duration of the emergency.
Ian Snell, a photographer at the scene, said the fire seemed to have spread along a fence before igniting the roof.