Sub-zero temperatures in Uralla have caused a fire hose to freeze, hampering the battle against a blaze at a cottage.
Crews were called to the property on Queen Street in the NSW Northern Tablelands town about 1:00am on Sunday.
A burst water main complicated the situation and Fire and Rescue NSW officers had to ask for help from the Rural Fire Service.
Inspector Wayne Zeekan said an elderly man was home at the time but managed to escape without injury.
"Water was freezing up," he said.
"The extreme cold made it physically very taxing so they've done a fantastic job of dealing with the fire in those conditions and as you can imagine they're all quite exhausted."
Crews were also concerned about asbestos in the building, which was destroyed in the blaze.
Insp Zeekan said the icy conditions were a "unique" challenge.
"Fingers crossed there'll be no more house fires and it won't become an issue for us," he said.
The temperature at nearby Armidale Airport dropped to -0.5 degrees Celsius at the time of the fire, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The incident is not believed to be suspicious.ABC