As the family struggled to escape their burning home next door, Vincent Ahiao was woken by the sound of shouting.
It was a man, Ahiao said, screaming for his son to “jump out the window”.
Later when Ahiao saw the house engulfed in fire, it was like “a tornado of flames”.
The neighbours of a Porirua house gutted by fire have spoken about being woken by the suburban inferno on Maher Pl.
Ahiao said he was woken at about 4am on Thursday by the sounds of the family of four next door struggling to get out of their home.
It appeared the son in the family was struggling to escape and the father was shouting “get out, get out”.
The son jumped out a window to escape, he said. All four family members made it out of the house.
Ahiao said they called emergency services, but he was forced to watch as intense waves of heat and thick smoke swept up from the neighbouring house.
As items exploded inside the house, they popped “like throwing Lynx cans in the fire”, he said.
Ahiao said at the beginning he heard smoke alarms from inside the house too.
On another side of the house, neighbour Paea Saluni was also woken by screams, and still groggy from sleep, struggled to work out what was happening.
He thought it might be a late night party at first.
“I heard screaming, and they were calling out but I wasn’t sure what was happening.”
He got up and tried to find where the noise was coming from, and then he saw the fire.
“They were all out from the house, so that’s good, I was worried there could be someone inside.”
They called fire fighters too and soon at least three fire trucks were crammed into the cul-de-sac battling the fire.
In daylight on Thursday morning the house was completely gutted, the fire destroying most of the roof as well. A set of scorched gas tanks sat beside the house.
Emergency services were called to the house on Maher Place in Rānui, Porirua, about 4am on Thursday.
Wellington Free Ambulance were called to the scene at about 5.45am and treated two patients at the scene.
An ambulance spokesperson said they were treated for minor injuries and referred to their general practitioner.
FENZ said the fire was contained just before 7am and firefighters were dampening down the site.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious.
Stuff – Joel Maxwell and Jessica Long