Chris Meyer had just pulled into his carport when he saw smoke billowing out a window of New Plymouth's Devonport Flats yesterday.
Meyer, who lives next to the flats on Dawson St, immediately jumped out of his vehicle and raced up a flight of stairs to check on the occupant.
He said he heard the TV going but smoke was already coming out from underneath the locked door.
"I thought ‘oh no, someone's in there'," he said.
Meyer said he started banging on the door when the firefighters turned up.
"They were pretty fast," he said.
A master key was used to unlock the door and the unit was equipped with a working smoke detector.
Two fire trucks were called to the scene about 5pm.
New Plymouth senior fire station officer Nick Burke said fire crews had to enter the unit wearing breathing apparatus as the apartment was "smoke logged".
The occupant was not home at the time.
Burke said it was a case of unattended cooking which led to the fire.
It was believed the occupant had then left his flat for about 10 minutes.
Unattended cooking was one of common causes of fire and Burke said it was an important reminder to everyone to "keep looking while cooking".
Meyer said he felt "pretty good" with his efforts and he is considering joining the volunteer fire brigade.
- Taranaki Daily News
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