Two dogs' lives were saved when Western Bay firefighters rushed into a burning Mount Maunganui house.
Firefighters arrived at the three-storey Pitau Rd house to find the kitchen engulfed by flames about noon yesterday.
Neighbour Rangi Taueki called 111 when he heard smoke alarms going off next door.
"I noticed the smell and the noise at the same time. I noticed that the kitchen was on fire. The smoke was billowing out," he said.
"I told my boys to wait inside and and I ran over there and knocked on the windows and doors to see if everyone was okay but got no answer."
Mr Taueki then went around the back of the house and shut off the gas and power mains before herding his two sons up to the road and out of harm's way.
Firefighters arrived soon after and raced inside the house - reappearing with a black dog and a white dog, both of which appeared to be labradors, Mr Taueki said.
The fire was quickly put out but firefighters remained at the property for almost two hours.
Mr Taueki said the outcome could have been much worse.
"At the end of the day there was no lives lost ... the most important part is life. Two animals were saved."
Fire safety officer Ken McKeagg was called to investigate the fire which severely damaged the kitchen and the family's appliances.
"It was fairly serious damage. The kitchen wasn't totally gutted out but it's going to cost them a bit of money."
The cause of the fire appeared to be the toaster, he said.
"The toaster is put in a cabinet with a slide-down door. Sometimes when they pull down the roller door it can jam the toaster on and that's what we think happened," he said.
"It's not a new problem to us and it's not an uncommon way of fires starting."