Smoke alarms that saved a house from potentially burning down had only been installed the day before, firefighters say.

Whanganui station officer Bryan Coskerie said firefighters were called out to a Gilmour St house in Gonville on Saturday after the occupant left cooking unattended.

"The smoke alarm had alerted the neighbour. It was a case of the smoke alarm had given a really good early warning to the fire," he said. "The house was all smoke-logged."

Mr Coskerie said a senior station officer told him the landlord had installed the smoke alarms the day before.

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He called it a "good story about the effectiveness of the smoke alarms".

While the property was smoke damaged, fire damage was "minimised" thanks to the neighbour's "awareness".

If there hadn't been alarms, Mr Coskerie said the house could have potentially burnt down.

The callout came at 12.54pm.