Neighbours wake to screams from burning house in Nelson
Residents in the Nelson suburb of the Brook woke to hear a neighbour screaming for help as fire swept through their home.
As a plume of smoke could be seen across the city on Tuesday, Seymour Avenue residents Cameron Sutton and Sharyna Armstrong initially "thought it was the TV".
Fellow resident Shae Haines had just pulled into his driveway after returning from an errand in town but, like his flatmates, was initially drawn to the sound of voices across the road before noticing the fire.
"I got here thinking they were arguing - I pulled in and heard all this noise and then I could see the smoke billowing out the top."
They soon realised that somebody was trying to escape the burning house.
Southern Communications Centre shift manager Andrew Norris said fire services arrived at the house fire in Seymour Avenue about 9am
The house was fully engulfed on their arrival, he said.
"One occupant of the house received minor burns and was treated on site by ambulance," Norris said.
Four fire engines from Stoke and Nelson and 16 firefighters were at the scene.
Traffic access to Seymour Avenue was blocked as the fire was brought under control.
Brook St resident Vicky Pomeroy was on her way to get a bottle of milk from the nearby store when she heard the piercing tone of a smoke alarm from the other side of the waterway, which divided the burning property from Brook St.
As she moved towards the sound, Pomeroy saw the visibly upset occupant emerge from the rear of the house
While staff at the dairy called 111, Pomeroy did her best to keep the woman out of harm's way until fire crews arrived.
"I had to stop her from going back into the house – she was absolutely distraught but the fire alarms were working and she'd done everything she possibly could," she said.
It is understood the woman was house-sitting at the property and was the sole occupant at the time of the fire.
Pomeroy said despite the circumstances, the fire had brought out the best in the Brook neighbourhood with residents "stepping up" to help as the situation developed.
Nelson senior station officer Rob Allan said crews remained at the scene on Tuesday afternoon in salvage mode, dampening down the house.
There were no suspicious circumstances in relation to the fire, he said.