Two boys home alone raised the alarm when a large fire broke out in the bathroom of their Papamoa house.
Louie, 14, and Saul Preshner, 12, had just had showers and were getting ready for school about 7am yesterday when the smoke alarms started going off, alerting them to the fire in their bathroom.
Mother Helen Adams had left for work in Rotorua about an hour earlier but had called to check on the boys as she did every morning, and was still on the phone to them when the alarm sounded.
"We didn't know where it was from, so we looked and we saw there was a fire on two of the shirts [on the clothes rack in the bathroom]. So I told mum and she said to get a bucket of water and put it on it," Louie said. "By the time we got back it was a big fire on the whole rack and the light had fallen."
The boys realised the blaze was out of hand and raced outside to call 111 and wait for the fire brigade to arrive.
Firefighters spent about an hour at the Palm Beach Boulevard property putting the fire out.
The bathroom was gutted.
Eastern Bay of Plenty fire safety officer John Rewi was called in to determine the cause of the fire. "The fire started from a three-in-one heat lamp, fan and light. It's just one of those things that happens," he said. "It is something that does happen, in particular the heat lamps coming on without the fan. They get hot and cause a fire."
The light melted the fitting and it fell down on to the clothes rack, setting the garments on fire.
If the fan had been on as well it would probably have cooled the lamp and prevented the fire, Mr Rewi said.
Heat lamps were often wired so the fan automatically came on when the heat lamp was turned on, he said.
Ms Adams said it was a warning to others to make sure the fan was on if using the heat lamp.