A neighbour of a family who escape their burning state home in Hastings said she heard screams and thought someone was being attacked.
A mother, her father and two children fled their Grove Road home in the suburb of Mayfair early this morning after it became engulfed in flames.
Three fire engines were called to the scene and an investigation by Fire and Emergency into the cause of the fire that gutted the home would be carried out.
Karen Spurgen, who lives next door, said she was woken about 2am by her neighbour who fled her house screaming.
"We wondered if someone was being attacked, she was really distraught.
"Then we came out and saw the flames, they were huge," she said.
Her neighbour bundled her children into her car across the road to keep them safe and then they called the emergency services, Ms Spurgen said.
"She was really calm, really good after that. All she knew was that it started in the kitchen and her fire alarms went off."
The family were unharmed and were now staying with relatives, Ms Spurgen said.
The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Housing New Zealand said it met with the tenants and was working with the family to ensure they're given alternative housing as soon as possible.
"We are pleased the tenant and family are safe and that the smoke alarms did their job and alerted the family to the fire," a spokesperson said.
"We've met with the tenant and we will continue to support them in any way we can."
Housing New Zealand said it would link the family with support agencies to help them replace furniture and other possessions lost in the fire.