A man braved fast-spreading flames and thick smoke to carry a family dog from a burning house.
Jarryd Stoneman, 21, was treated for smoke inhalation after his heroic efforts in Whitby on Monday night.
While at a service station just before 8pm he saw the roof of a nearby house was burning. He jumped in his car and raced to the fire in Azimuth Place.
"Two guys were already on the phone to the fire service. There was a car in the driveway so I thought I'd better check if anyone was inside."
Stoneman raced to the rear of the house and broke in through a locked door. Inside, he found Korna, a samoyed dog, unconscious on the floor. "I saw this big fluffy thing on the ground so I grabbed him and said, ‘C'mon boy, we're outta here'."
He carried 14-year-old Korna downstairs through swiftly spreading smoke and flames and out the front door. Stoneman then went back inside and did another check.
"But I had to get out of there, it was spreading so fast."
Seconds later, the front window blew out.
Firefighters from Porirua gave Korna oxygen before he was taken to a vet for treatment. Yesterday he was almost back to full health, and happily greeted his rescuer.
Homeowner David O'Kane said Stoneman was "a real hero".
Korna was part of the family, he said. "The kids have all grown up with him. If Jarryd hadn't have come along, we wouldn't have this result."
O'Kane had been out for dinner with his family when a friend rang to say their house was on fire. "We could see the glow as we came up Postgate Drive."
Six caged birds died in the fire but their cat escaped the flames.
The house was extensively damaged by the fire, which may have spread from a wood burner.
Stoneman was taken to Wellington Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. He said he didn't consider himself a hero. "I just thought I should check if anyone was inside."
Porirua station officer Mark Powell said Stoneman had done "a fantastic job". "Obviously there are dangers with these sorts of actions, but he's acted very bravely."
- The Dominion Post