The sole occupant of a newly-renovated Dunedin home extensively damaged in a fire fled the inferno after she was woken by a smoke alarm.
Steven Salenieks spent most of yesterday morning salvaging what he could from his mother's Cutten St, South Dunedin, property.
"Mum's devastated," he told the Otago Daily Times outside the cordoned-off property.
"She has lost everything. I tried to salvage some photos, and I have her passport but everything has gone."
A concerned neighbour of his mother knocked on his door just after midnight, alerting Mr Salenieks to the fire a few blocks away.
He found his mother, Christine Moodie, receiving treatment at the scene for smoke inhalation. Four fire appliances were outside the all-but-destroyed house.
The pair had extensively renovated the corner site property since she moved in six months ago, and it was "gutting" to see it destroyed by fire.
However, he was thankful his renovation work of the insured property included smoke alarms, which alerted his mother to the fire in her bedroom.
East Otago Fire Risk Management Officer Michael Harrison said the fire was not suspicious, and served as a "timely reminder as to the importance of having working smoke alarms in homes".
"Once a fire takes hold in a home, they tend to spread very quickly. Working smoke alarms give occupants the early warning they need to get out ... safely."