A Fire and Emergency safety officer is reminding parents to keep lighters and matches out of reach of children after fire tore through a Hamilton home.

About 70 per cent of the Newcastle Rd, Dinsdale, home was destroyed in the blaze about 5.50pm yesterday.

The home's occupants, a 26-year-old man, his two boys aged 3 and 5, and their grandmother all escaped relatively unharmed but were taken to Waikato Hospital for minor smoke inhalation.

Fire safety officer Kevin Holmes said the two children were in a bedroom watching movies on a computer.

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"The [father] has smelt something a bit odd and gone in there, grabbed the kids and got out.

"It appears that one of them has been playing with an ignition source of some description and the fire started around the bed."

The father tried to put the fire out himself, using three pots of water, to no avail. He's then been overcome by smoke and had to leave.

The home did not have working smoke alarms at the time.

Holmes said it was a timely reminder for people to make sure they didn't "leave matches or lighters in places where little hands can get them".

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on Newcastle Rd, Hamilton, last night. Photo / Belinda Feek
Firefighters at the scene of a fire on Newcastle Rd, Hamilton, last night. Photo / Belinda Feek

"Young children tend to be inquisitive and they see Mum and Dad and grown ups using lighters legitimately and they don't know the dangers of them and if they get their hands on them they're like 'oh, I've seen one of them before'."

It was also a stark realisation for members of the public and neighbours who called 111 about how quickly a fire can develop.

"It doesn't take long. You should never underestimate the speed of fire. Our advice in a situation like that is to just get people out as quickly as possible."

The house was a rental and it's understood the occupants, who were released from hospital last night, did have insurance.

He said the home was currently uninhabitable before the family could move back in.