When Saia Falekaono's Papamoa home caught on fire, he jumped out of the shower and dragged a flaming mattress outside - leaving him badly burned and naked on his front lawn.
Fire broke out inside Mr Falekaono's Hartford Ave home just after 4pm yesterday, sparked by a faultly switch setting a bed alight.
The 23-year-old was in the shower when his children burst in yelling "fire!".
He jumped out, grabbed a towel and ran into a bedroom to find the mattress burning.
With adrenalin pumping, he picked up the flaming mattress and dragged it through the lounge but when he got to the front door it was locked.
By this stage Mr Falekaono realised the severity of the situation.
"Half my body was on fire," he said.
He unlocked the door and threw the mattress on to the lawn, but with it went his towel.
"I didn't really care, people started coming out of their houses and they could see a naked man in front of a burning house."
The Dominion Salt worker suffered severe burns to the right side of his body, from his lower leg up to his ear. He said the springs from the mattress left burn marks on his skin.
Looking down at his bandages this morning, he admitted he was in a lot of pain. Even so, he was in good spirits as he and his family assessed the damage.
Representatives of social housing provider Accessible Housing were also at the property to work out what could be saved, or fixed to help the family.
Mr Falekaono said in hindsight he should have left the firefighting to the professionals but in that moment adrenalin took over and he wanted to stop the fire.
Mr Falekaono, his partner and their three children aged 4, 6 and 8 were in the house at the time.
Neighbours rushed to help the family and Mr Falekaono's partner Leesha Webster said if they had not come out when they did the outcome could have been a lot worse.
"We really want to thank the community for helping, there were more than 20 people with buckets of water and hoses trying to help put out the fire before the fire brigade arrived," she said.
Mr Falekaono and this family planned to stay with Ms Webster's mother while their home was being repaired.
Unity Webster, Leesha's sister, said she was organising a collection of donations of things the family had lost in the fire, including furnture and clothes for the kids.
Papamoa fire Senior Station Officer Mark Keller said the fire started with a faulty electrical switch in a bedroom. It sparked next to a bed and the mattress caught fire.
When firefighters arrived the fire had mostly been put out by the garden hoses. They put out hot spots and applied First Aid to Mr Falekaono's burns - he had shorts on by the time they arrived, Mr Keller said.
He said although taking the mattress out of the house probably helped stop the fire spread and save the house, it was not a good idea.
"He put himself at great personal risk. We don't want people going to this kind of extreme. We've got the gear and we've got the training."
Closing the door to the bedroom could have held back the fire for another 10 minutes, long enough for firefighters to be well on the way, he said.
"In my career, I have seen a number of people injured trying to get burning things out - tripping over with pots of oil or carrying things out."
Mr Keller was pleased to see the house had three working smoke alarms, so the family would have been alerted if the fault happened while they were sleeping.
"Houses and things can be replaced or fixed or repaired. People can't. Get out and stay out."