Police are investigating a fire which could've destroyed a Bay of Plenty church.
Firefighters were called to a fire at St John the Baptist Anglican Church in Te Puke, just after 3am.
It took them about an hour and half to bring the fire under control and stopped from burning the church to the ground.
Northern Fire Communications shift manager Scott Osmond says the fire was started at an exterior air conditioning unit connected to the church.
He says the building was smoke logged.
“They have fire safety and police going there this morning - they believe it might be suspicious."
The fire was detected in the historic church by the smoke alarm which alerted the fire brigade automatically.
The fire brigade have responded to a number of false alarms here, but they always treat them seriously, says a reporter at the scene.
Specialist Fire Investigator Jon Rewi says the alarm system saved the building.
"It's a really good result."