A search for a resident was quickly resolved after a fire at Tauranga Hospital's secure mental health unit overnight.

Tauranga Fire Bridge senior station officer Phil Price said the crew got a call after 10.30pm last night to a fire at the hospital's secure mental health unit on 20th Avenue.

"When we arrived, there was a report of somebody still missing inside the building. There was quite a large area of the secure wing that was smoke logged. The sprinkler system had been set off.

"The rest of the occupants had been evacuated by staff. The crew, with breathing apparatus, made a search and very quickly located the last occupant in one of the secure rooms where the sprinkler had gone off. The person hadn't moved from their cell. We escorted him to safety."

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Mr Price said the fire was small and confined to some furnishings, which had set off the sprinklers.

He said a lot of smoke was generated from the fire, which spread through a large area of the unit and took about 45 minutes to be cleared.

"It was potentially quite a disruptive fire for the hospital unit. No one was hurt, the sprinklers had put the fire out."

Four fire engines from Tauranga and Greerton attended the fire and crews were there until just after midnight.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Mental Health and Addiction Services business leader Eileen Hughes said there was fire damage to curtains and flooring in a one-bedroom unit and dampness to the flooring following the activation of the sprinkler system which extinguished the fire.

"All patients were briefly evacuated to another area of the unit during the event but have since been returned. The unit was closed for a short time last night but reopened soon after and is functioning as normal.

"One person was taken to ED with smoke inhalation but has since been discharged."