Two fires have claimed the lives of four people today, prompting the Fire Service to warn people that all blazes can be dangerous, regardless of size.
Firefighters this afternoon attended a small, smouldering fire in Auckland's Panmure which left one person dead.
Seven fire trucks and 20 firefighters were called to the apartment block on Queens Rd at 1.39pm.
Police have since cordoned off Queens Rd, from Pilkington Rd, and all seven shops in front of the apartment buildings have been closed.
Auckland City Fire Service assistant area commander Dave Woon said the deceased person was believed to have been in bed, on the ground floor.
They were dragged from the house unconscious, and CPR was performed, with no success.
Firefighters had initial concerns there may have been another person trapped inside. However, following a thorough search of the house, they had given the all clear.
"This fire is a small, smouldering type of fire. It just shows you that it doesn't have to be a large fire for people to be hurt," Mr Woon said.
"It is a bit distressing. In the last few weeks we've had a number of fatal and close calls."
Mr Woon said it was too early to comment as to what may have caused the fire.
The second fatal fire today prompted Mr Woon to warn people about the basics.
"It doesn't take an awful amount of smoke. This fire may have been going for a period of time, Mr Woon said.
"The message we've got is early indication of fire is your best bet ... smoke alarms, plan an escape route to get out, never go back, close the door."
The death comes after another tragedy struck the small South Canterbury town of Waimate, where a fire claimed the lives of a father, his wife, and their young son.
Tej and Tika Kafle and their 8-year-old son, Pream, were killed when a fire broke out at the family's five-bedroom flat above their Everest Indian Restaurant in Waimate this morning.
The Queen St fire, in what was the old Savoy Tearoom and Bakery building, broke out about 7.40am.
Sisters Tulsi, 23, Manisha, 16, and Mamata, 12, managed to escape on to a balcony.
Two young "gutsy" co-workers of Tulsi at the nearby New World supermarket tried to help them, fire officials said.
The three sisters were now recovering at Timaru Hospital after being treated for minor injuries including smoke inhalation.
Tej Kafle's brother, Bishnu Kafle, today travelled to the hospital from Christchurch after being informed of the tragedy this morning by his mother.
"I must look after these three girls. They are very scared, and crying. They are safe now," he said.
Tej came to New Zealand from Nepal in 2005, said Bishnu, who emigrated himself in 2005.
Tej originally settled in Greymouth before going to Christchurch. After the earthquakes, he moved to Waimate.
His wife of 25 years and four children followed him three years ago. They recently got residency.
The family set up the Indian restaurant about 18 months ago and were well settled in the region.
Tulsa worked at the New World supermarket in the bakery, and Pream attended Waimate Main School with Mamata.
Bishnu said his brother was "a very good man".
"He always helps me and helped everybody," he said. "My brother and sister-in-law will be very deeply missed."
A Everest Mayoral Support Fund has been set up at Waimate ANZ Bank for anyone who wished to make a donation.
Waimate mayor Craig Rowley said offers of help have already been flooding in from members of the community and local community groups.
"It is shocking, you couldn't ask for anything worse than for three of your community members to be killed in a fire. We'll work through it and come out the other side."
Later this morning, four people had a lucky escape after they were rescued off the roof of a burning building in south Auckland this morning.
The blaze was on the upper level of a two storey apartment block on Bairds Rd, Otara, Jaron Philips from the Fire Service northern communications centre said.
Around 300sq m of the building was also used for a shopping centre, he said, but the fire - which was called in around 8.35am - was located at the apartment section.
"Four members of the public were sighted in the roof of the apartment block where the fire is," Mr Philips said.
Aerial appliances were used to rescue the four people, and there were no reports of injuries, he said.
Also in Auckland, a fire engulfed a laundromat in Sandringham about 2.30am, extensively damaging the the business and a dental surgery upstairs.
No one was injured in the blaze.
Spontaneously combusting tea towels caused the blaze at the two storey building -- an explanation the Fire Service said was unusual, but not unprecedented.
Mr McEnaney, a specialist fire investigator, was at the scene of the fire today.
"What we've determined is, it's spontaneous combustion, self-heating as a result of some tea towels that have been through the laundromat. They've been through the washing process, then drying, and then they've been put away [when] they haven't cooled down enough," he said.
How can you help
People making donations to help the three children who've lost their parents and younger brother in this morning's fire may have run into difficulties.
Waimate's mayor's office had initially sent out the wrong bank account number.
However a spokeswoman said any payments would have been unlikely to make it through as the number provided had an extra 0, making it invalid.
The right account number is 01 0893 0081636 00.