Four children and five adults were forced to flee in the early hours today, as a violent fire engulfed their two-storey home in the Auckland suburb of Hillsborough .
Six fire crews – or about 24 firefighters – were called to the blaze in the Hillsborough Rd property at 12.52am.
Next-door neighbour Ashna Achari was woken at around 12.40am by screams of “Get out, get out, get out!”
Her room faces towards the neighbouring house and she opened her curtains and to see fire coming out of the basement windows.
While she was on the phone with the fire service, she saw the four children and five adults run onto the driveway to escape the blaze.
“I was worried about our house because the smoke was coming in.”
Achari and her mother escaped onto their driveway as the whole of the affected house had then caught fire.
Firefighters spent at least an hour trying to get the fire under control.
“They were here for at least three more hours,“ said Achari. “We got back in at about 4.30am because they were using our deck to use the hoses.”
“It was the shouting that woke me up, but if I hadn’t heard the shouting…” said Achari.
Her house has not been damaged by the blaze, however, she is still getting the smell of the fire out of her home and removing the stains from her deck.
One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, told the Herald he heard bangs not too long after the fire had started.
“At around quarter past one, I heard one loud bang and another couple of smaller bangs,” he said.
“The first one was certainly louder than a car backfiring,”
Burned-out remnants of the destroyed house – including furniture and children’s toys – were seen in its entrance
The smell of smoke was still lingering in the air by 4.30pm.
Onehunga Fire Station senior station officer Ali Rodger said: “This highlights that everyone should have working smoke alarms at home.”
Police helped the occupants to find emergency accommodation.
The fire is currently not being treated as suspicious.