A Tauranga Neighbourhood Support leader has stepped up to the role in more ways than one after helping save the home of a fellow Lakes resident from fire.
A fire burned through 20m x 20m of flax bush in a walkway area on Mortlake Heights yesterday afternoon, and was on the crest of spreading into at least one property when neighbour Nick Langdon heard calls for help.
Langdon, who heads the local Neighbourhood Support, had been outside his place when people who spotted the fire across the road yelled out to him "and I just ran straight down".
Langdon said the fire and smoke was intense. He found a garden hose from the property being threatened and used it to bring the fire under control.
"I just had to lay down to the ground to do it because the smoke was that bad," he said.
"You could barely see.
"I just kept going with the garden hose until the fire guys got here."
Langdon believed the fire was caused by a cigarette butt.
Greerton fire station officer Brendon Grylls said the fire, spurred on by strong winds, was just a few minutes from spreading into homes.
"He (the home owner) is very lucky."
Grylls said the cause of the fire was yet to be confirmed but early indications suggested a discarded cigarette.
"Fires just don't start themselves," he said.
"And in this wind, the end of a cigarette will just glow and glow. People need to be aware of what people do with their cigarette butts. Vegetation is dry and conditions like this, it doesn't take much."
The edge of the property and its shed suffered some charring but the main house was not badly damaged.
Firefighters were called back to the spot a few hours later after the fire appeared to have reignited.