A woman and her 2-week-old baby were saved from fire when neighbours leaving for football practice spotted flames.
The Waihi neighbours were leaving their Kenny St house about 5.45am last Thursday when they saw fire coming from next door.
"Flames were coming out of the house, blocking the driveway. My wife called the brigade straight away," Rudy Sas says.
Inside the rental property was the woman and her baby. Both were taken to the Waihi Hospital Annexe for observation.
"It was a scary start to the day," Sas said, "but luckily everybody is okay. The brigade arrived two-and-a-half minutes after we rang. They were really quick and I am grateful for that."
The Waihi Volunteer Fire Brigade responded with two fire trucks and a van to extinguish the blaze while the occupants were evacuated.
Fire chief Moe Stevens said the neighbours' quick reaction helped to contain the damage.
"Luckily, the neighbours rang us quickly to get the fire out otherwise the house would have been gone."
Stevens said the smoke alarm also helped to alert the occupants.
The fire started in the storeroom at the back of the house, burning furniture, chairs, a barbecue, some blankets and other items.
The origin of the blaze was still being investigated.