A Stratford volunteer firefighter is recuperating at home after suffering burns in a house fire this month.
Lee Rogers says he is happy to be home with his wife and children after spending a few days in the specialist burns unit in Hamilton, adding the care he has received is "fantastic".
Rogers says the 4am callout on December 1 began like any other.
Firefighters were told someone might be in the house, so Rogers and another firefighter headed through the front door with the hose.
"We made entry, but very quickly I gave the order to back out, it was just way too hot in there."
Rogers continued to fight the fire outside and it was not until he took his protective gear off that he realised he had been burned.
"Before then adrenalin works to keep you moving, keep you focused. So while I had felt the intense heat when we entered, I hadn't realised I was actually physically burned from it."
Ambulance staff already on the scene checked him out and took him to Taranaki Base Hospital.
"When they were wrapping the burns in [plastic film] in the ambulance, the pain hit. I couldn't even tolerate the weight of the wrap on my skin, it felt terrible."
While Rogers was being transported to hospital, his wife Kathryn was waking up to a knock on the door from deputy fire chief Kevan Old.
"I was wondering why he was on my doorstep, but as I started to to realise what it might mean, he had started talking and immediately assured me Lee was okay, but injured."
Kathryn Rogers says it is only since Lee has come home from the burns unit that the enormity of what might have happened has hit her.
"You start to realise how life can change in seconds."
From Taranaki Base, Lee was transferred to the specialist burns unit in Hamilton as he had 12 per cent burns to his body.
Kathryn Rogers, after arranging for her sister to look after their children; Jordan, 14, and twins Abby and Maddison, 8, drove to Waikato to meet Lee at the hospital there.
Maddison and Abby say it was hard going to school that day knowing their dad was hurt, especially, says Maddison, because they had a different teacher that day. "So everything was different."
Abby says the accident also meant their mum missed their assembly.
"It's good to have Dad home so everything can be normal again."
The visible burns on her dad's arms and hands, make Maddison "crazy", she says.
"I get sad and angry that he was burned and is still hurt."
Rogers has yet to return to his job as a team manager at Fonterra.
"It's frustrating, there is a lot I can't do. I have no feeling still in my fingertips and they have open wounds on them, so I can't type, use a computer or anything. Even using cutlery, it takes more effort. You have to really concentrate because you can't just feel it in your hands."
Kathryn and Lee Rogers speak highly of the support they have received from the fire brigade as well as the community.
"My phone was so full of texts from everyone I had to start deleting them as the phone couldn't cope," says Lee Rogers.
He says people have also approached him telling him they had put him in their prayers, or been thinking of him and his family.
"It means a lot, it really does."
The Seyton St fire is still being investigated.