A Te Puke house was just moments away from going up in flames, say firefighters who saved the property on Tuesday.
Te Puke volunteer fire chief Glenn Williams said the brigade was called to Belvedere St just before 8am after reports of a house fire.
When firefighters arrived they found a firewood box attached to the house on fire.
"One of the occupants had put some ashes out," Williams said.
"He thought they were cold and put them on wood."
Williams said this was a common mistake made at this time of year and ashes should always be put in a metal bucket, ideally filled with water.
"It's a timely reminder ... it doesn't matter how cold they think they are."
Williams said the fire burned to a size of about 1m x 2m and was mostly contained to the woodbox, "although there was some scorching on the house".
"The house had been renovated. They are lucky we got there when we did. If it was a few minutes later the house would have been well involved ," Williams said.