Witnesses say a man tried to fight a fire in a Porirua house with a garden hose before it consumed the entire place.
The man is understood to have been treated for burns to one of his arms after attempting to douse the fire in the suburb of Titahi Bay on Sunday afternoon.
Six fire crews and a hazardous materials unit were called to the house in Te Pene Ave at at 2.47pm. They were joined by two ambulances and a police car.
The fire was “well involved” by the time fire crew arrived, and Chief Fire Officer Sean Malone, of the Titahi Bay Fire Brigade, described the house as “extensively” damaged by the fire.
But, fortunately, fire fighters managed stop the flames from spreading to neighbouring homes just a few metres away, he said.
Neighbour Paretai Rua said she rushed out of her home and saw two men trying to put the fire out with a garden hose.
“I think they must have got burned themselves because they were hosing down their arms and legs as well.”
It only took about three minutes for the flames to spread from the kitchen to the rest of the house, she said.
“It just went up so fast. It was really scary. I’m really thankful no one got seriously hurt.”
The fire also caused nearby powerlines to come down. Members of the community pitched in to help keep people clear of the scene while fire fighters to get the flames, Rua said.
Fellow neighbour Mamalia Makaelia said she also saw one of the men inside the house trying to douse the flames with a hose.
When the fire service arrived, he relented and ran out of the house with a towel around his arm, she said.
“He was hard-out in pain. You could see it on his face. As soon as the ambulance showed up he went straight towards it.”
A Wellington Free Ambulance spokeswoman said one person was treated for minor injuries. Earlier reports from the fire service were that two people had been injured.
Malone said the cause of the fire was not yet known, but would be investigated.
The hazardous materials unit was in the scene because of the possibility of asbestos in the house, he said.
It is understood only one person was inside the house at the time of the fire.
Stuff MICHAEL FORBES AND TOMMY LIVINGSTON