A fire that destroyed a small greenhouse shed and part of a fence on a Tamatea property early yesterday morning came close to spreading to the house after heat caused a nearby window to crack.

The fire broke out about 12.15am while the occupants of the house, and people in three close neighbouring houses, were all asleep.

The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said the first he knew something was wrong was after hearing noises outside and seeing the reflections of flashing red emergency lights.

"I looked out and saw a fireman walking past the window so got up and then the doorbell rang - it was another fireman."


One of the staff at the neighbouring Fern Motel had been alerted to the fire by one of the guests. "It was really going up."

After the call had been made to the fire service she did what she could until they got there.

"I grabbed the hose and started to try and put it out," she said.

"But they were here pretty quickly and got onto it which was good because if it had have broken the windows the curtains would have caught fire and who knows what could have happened."

The resident said double-glazing had held the fire at bay - the outer pane cracked and broke but the second did not.

Two other neighbours nearby had also been unaware there was a fire.

One said the first he knew something was up was after a taxi drove into the small cul-de-sac and the driver began sounding the horn.

The driver had spotted the flames while driving along Taradale Rd.

"Then my son came in and said there's a fire next door," one man said. He said it appeared someone on a grass reserve may have thrown something over the fence and started the fire.