A fire that gutted a home in the Lower Hutt suburb of Taita this morning has highlighted the value of smoke alarms, Fire And Emergency New Zealand says.
Hutt Valley Fire and Emergency Assistant Area Commander Matthew Abel says the four adults and five children in the house were lucky to escape with their lives.
"If it hadn’t been for the alarm going off, we could have been dealing with multiple fatalities.
"The house went up fast. They all had to jump out windows. By the time our crews got there flames were coming out of every room."
Mr Abel says the incident highlights the importance of working smoke alarms.
"In the past few weeks we have had two, possibly three, avoidable fatalities in homes without working smoke alarms. In this case an alarm has saved lives."
Fire and Emergency New Zealand was alerted to the fire at 5.42am. Investigators have not been able to identify the cause.
One occupant of the home was treated at the scene for a cut to her hand; others suffered minor smoke inhalation, but none required hospital treatment.