A fire took less than three minutes to spread through a house in Hastings this afternoon.
Emergency services are on the scene at the Hinau St, where one half of a two unit property appears to have been gutted.
A neighbour, who gave he name only as Edna, had been hanging out her washing when she heard screaming.
She said: "A lady came running out [of the house] yelling 'please help me, please help me'."
At that stage, the fire appeared to be small, but had spread through the house in around three minutes.
Three occupants were home at the time -including a toddler - and all were able to get out of the house.
Edna said the neighbours in the adjoining house had been unaware of the fire until they heard screams.
A nearby resident said they could see smoke from the fire at their house a block away.