A Northland volunteer fire chief and a fire investigator are urging people to check the batteries in their smoke alarms after a resident only just got out of his Dargaville home following a kitchen blaze.

The man, who has been dubbed "lucky" by a fire investigator, was asleep when a fire started in the kitchen. There were smoke alarms in the house but they did not have batteries in them, said Dargaville Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire office Jeffrey Palmer.

"Everyone was out safely, only just. The man was awoken by the smoke. Their smoke alarm had no batteries in it so it's a timely reminder for people to please check the batteries in their smoke alarms."

Mr Palmer urged people to ensure they had working smoke alarms in their home in the lead up to winter and the end of Daylight Savings.


The brigade was called to the fire in Jervois St at about 11am on Saturday and spent two hours dousing flames.

Specialist fire investigator Russell Dickson, said it "concerned" him there were no working smoke alarms in the house. Mr Dickson was at the property on Saturday investigating the fire he said developed slowly, was accidental and started in the kitchen area.

"He was in a room asleep at the time and his house was full of smoke. He managed to break the window and get out. We always say, smoke alarms are no good without batteries. He was lucky," Mr Dickson said.

"The kitchen is severely damaged. It's not a pull down job. Once the kitchen is renewed and there's some painting done it will be liveable."