The volunteer fire crew who tackled the "one-in-a-lifetime" BP Bay View fire were well prepared - they had trained at the site.
Senior station officer Richard Hinks, a Pan Pac mill engineer, says the Bay View Volunteer Fire Brigade had previously had training exercises at the State Highway 2 station, and knew the site and its emergency plan well.
Within four minutes of the 9.23pm call, the fire crew was leaving their station in their new Iveco truck, blessed a week earlier, with barely 1800km on the clock.
Witness Hayley Munro says the brigade was at the fire within six minutes, and her video shows the hoses quickly knocking back the erupting flames with help of fulltime firefighters from Napier station about 10km away.
Fire and Emergency NZ says it was under control within half an hour, and police say it was a miracle no one was injured.
The fire ignited when a customer held a cigarette lighter over a container of just-bought fuel.
Gerald Munro, who was with his daughter-in-law, son Daniel and grandchildren Aeris and River at the family's home across the road, felt the heat from 200 metres away.
"I was expecting the worst," Munro said.
As two cars incinerated, petrol pumps were locked off and the fire was confined by curtains dropping from the sides of the canopy of the forecourt.
Motorists on the busy highway slowed down to look. Munro said they would then suddenly accelerate as if thinking: "My God, it's a petrol station".
Police district criminal investigations manager Detective Inspector Rob Jones confirmed the fire was thought to have been "accidental".
"The entire service station forecourt was alight within minutes and it is nothing short of a miracle that nobody was injured or killed."
A BP Australia and New Zealand spokesperson said the staff and fire brigade response was "incredible".
The site has been declared safe and experts start assessing it tomorrow in the hope of reopening as soon as possible.
The BP Connect shop about 10m clear of the canopy and the truck stop at the rear appeared undamaged.
The 22-member Bay View brigade trains weekly and spends most of its time dealing with crashes on the Napier-Taupo or Napier-Wairoa highways.
Of 157 calls last year, 52 were to motor vehicle crashes, 22 to vegetation fires, including the Tangoio forest fire almost a year to the day earlier, and just three were to structure fires.
Hinks said the brigade returned to the station about 1am, to "sit down for a cuppa", and to get the engine, hoses and other equipment "ready for the next one".
There'll be a more formal debrief tomorrow night.
Hinks says he and the team reject notions of heroism: "It's our community. It's all about protecting the community."
Meanwhile, crews from Hastings attended a fire on Saturday that razed an old house at Omahu, on SH50 between Napier and Hastings. The building had been emblazoned with gang insignia.
The house, behind a high fence, burned to the ground after the alarm was raised at 3.29am. Police and fire investigators are investigating.