The sound was like a hot air balloon launching.
It's the only way Jamie Dale can describe the sound a gas bottle made before her husband was engulfed in a "hot, white, heat" in front of her.
Her husband, police constable Kris Dale, formerly of Whakatāne, suffered serious burns to his face, neck, upper torso and hands after a gas bottle incident at his home in Te Anau on April 9. He is recovering in Christchurch Hospital.
The father of four, a keen hunter, had shot a stag and was boiling the head in a big drum in his garage.
Kris was not in the garage when the gas bottle "purged".
"The only way I can describe it is like a hot air balloon. I thought the house was on fire, to be honest," his wife, Jamie, 35, said.
Kris, 39, rushed into the garage and reached down to turn the gas bottle off when his body caught fire.
"When he caught on fire he didn't realise he was on fire because it was clear. It was a hot, white heat.
"His whole shirt caught on fire. He ripped it off and it was just like in ashes on the ground."
Jamie and their 8-year-old daughter Isla saw the whole thing.
"She was unfortunately home sick from school on Friday. So she was there."
Their 2-year-old boy Angus and 10-month-old baby Kiera were inside sleeping. MacKenzie, 5, was at school.
Kris was airlifted from Te Anau and has been recovering in the Christchurch Hospital burns unit.
Jamie and the couple's four children were staying nearby in an Airbnb. Kris' parents, Alan and Lesley Dale, had come down from their home in Tauranga to Christchurch to help.
"It's obviously a big shock to the family," Jamie said.
"With Kris' line of work we've always been prepared for maybe something to happen to him. But we never thought that something would happen at home."
Kris' hands were the worst affected by third-degree burns and Jamie said he was due for skin grafts soon. He faces a long recovery ahead.
"But he is going to be okay. It's just he's in a world of pain at the moment, obviously. We're just thinking positive."
Originally from the Bay of Plenty, Kris served as a firefighter with the Ōhope Volunteer Fire Brigade for many years. He was also a police constable with Whakatāne Police before the family moved about three years ago to Te Anau. He stayed with the police.
"He's got a lot of community connections because of his roles in the community," Jamie said.
"In the Bay of Plenty he's well loved and in Te Anau he's well loved. We've got a lot of support."
Jamie said the family was halfway through renovating their home in Te Anau and the building company had rallied tradies to help finish the home for when they return.
"It's crazy. It's been overwhelming support. But things like this bring communities together and also our family. That's the silver lining in these situations.
"Kris is the type of person who usually runs towards danger and helps people. It's quite weird him being in this situation where he's the one that we have to try to accept help for. It's a funny feeling."
Jamie said her children weren't allowed into the hospital due to Covid-19 rules but one of the nurses let their two eldest visit Kris on Wednesday.
"He's been asking to see the kids. He misses them terribly. He's such a family man and a hands-on dad."
Kris will likely be in Christchurch Hospital for another month if the skin grafts "take" and rehabilitation will likely take months at either Dunedin or Invercargill, which is a few hours' drive from the family home in Te Anau.
Bruce Jenkins, who was Kris' boss at the Whakatane Police station, said Kris was "one of life's good guys".
"We wish him all the best in his recovery."
A close friend of Kris' has set up a Givealittle page to help cover the costs of travel, rehab and other expenses the family faces.
The fundraising page had reached nearly $30,000 overnight on Thursday.
"It just makes sense to set up something for Kris and Jamie because Kris has done so many fundraising initiatives and has always been someone with a strong sense of community," he said.
"What's happened to Kris is devastating. I think the response from people who know him speaks for itself."
To donate, visit https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-kris-recover-from-serious-burns