Horrifying footage has emerged of an arsonist getting more than he bargained for, as he becomes engulfed in a fireball.

The CCTV video shows a man in a hooded top and shorts early on Monday morning (8 January) spraying a pick-up truck with two plastic bottles of kerosene, or similar flammable liquid.

The man in a deserted car park in Hamilton, a city in the north of New Zealand's north island, moves around the truck, coating it in the liquid.

He then wedges what remains of the second bottle of the accelerant between the front wheel and the rim of the vehicle, and leads a doused rag down the wheel –stopping about three feet away from the truck.

The arsonist bends down and sets light to his handiwork, only to see the vehicle literally blow up in his face, enveloping him in flames.

Detective Sergeant Andre Kavanagh said: "A yet-to-be identified person has doused the vehicle with an accelerant and deliberately set the vehicle alight."

He said other footage the police have shows the man running from the secene towards the nearby Hamilton Lake.

Kavanagh added: "We are very concerned the person has been burned as a result of their actions and may require medical assistance."

Anyone who can identify the offender or provide any other information is urged to contact Kavanagh on (07) 858 6200 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.