An Auckland family faces starting all over again after fire tore through their home.
They escaped with only minutes to spare.
The family say they have been "overwhelmed" by the response from their Manurewa community after the fire, believed to have started from a faulty hot water cylinder, destroyed all their possessions in the early hours of Monday morning.
Dan, who didn't want his surname used, says the family are lucky to be alive after he woke up in the middle of the night and immediately smelled smoke, initially believing it must be coming from the neighbours.
He looked outside before noticing that his lounge was filling up with smoke, so ran back in to alert his family.
He went into his 13-year-old stepdaughter's room where smoke was inches from the sleeping child's face and quickly rushed her outside as his partner and two other adults made their escape.
Then, acting on impulse, Dan rushed back into the property, hoping to find the source of the fire as he could not yet see flames.
He quickly found it, in the laundry, and returned to thrust a hose under the door in the hope of extinguishing the fire.
What he did not know at the time was that the fire was already in the roof - and within moments Dan was forced to run for his life as his family screamed at him to flee.
He told the Herald he knows it was "stupid" but was acting on instinct and trying to save the family home.
Dan was full of praise for firefighters, who arrived within minutes, saying they did an "amazing job" but the damage was already done.
He was taken to hospital and assessed for damage from smoke inhalation, but later discharged.
The house was fitted with alarms, but they did not sound until after Dan woke up and began opening doors in the home, telling the Herald he believed he could smell the smoke through his open bedroom window.
Dan said firefighters told him that if he had woken up just minutes later then the whole family could have lost their lives, a revelation that had a profound impact.
"All that is replaceable," Dan said of his material possessions, "five lives aren't".
The family did not have contents insurance and faced an uphill battle to rebuild their lives, but say they have been "overwhelmed" by support from their local community, with a Givealittle page launched to help them out.
They received an immediate boost from their landlord, who donated cash to the family to help them out.
They say they would love to stay in the Hill Park area of Manurewa that has shown them so much love but were struggling to find a suitable property to move to.
They also vowed to pay it forward and pass on anything they don't require to another family in need.
Dan said that firefighters have told him a faulty thermostat on the home's hot water cylinder was the likely cause, with the unit heating up until it ignited the fire.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand District Manager Brad Mosby told the Herald that the family had been very lucky, and offered Kiwis advice on how to protect their homes.
"A house fire can happen to anyone. While it was lucky in this instance the residents got out unharmed, there could have been a very different outcome," he said.
Mosby said this fire was an example of the fact that smoke alarms cannot detect smoke through walls or doors and recommended that homes have working smoke alarms in every bedroom, living area and hallway.
"This gives everyone in the house the best chance of getting out safely before a fire becomes unsurvivable, which is often in less than three minutes," he said.
He encouraged all households to go to escapemyhouse.co.nz and spend a few minutes to create their own three-step escape plan.
'Once you're out of the house, the best thing to do is go to your safe meeting place, call 111, and wait for Fire and Emergency to arrive," he said.
"Stay out and don't go back into the burning house. The toxic smoke inside makes it hard to breathe, see or think."