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A woman is dead and a man in hospital after fire engulfed a home on Auckland's North Shore last night.

Emergency services were called to the house on View Rd in Wairau Valley about 7.25pm.

More than 20 firefighters from five crews brought the blaze under control within about half an hour.

Takapuna Fire Station senior station manager Evan Lamberton said the blaze started in a bedroom, trapping a woman.

A 27-year-old man, whose relationship to the woman was unknown, attempted to rescue her but it was too late.

Neighbour Colin Preston tried to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose before firefighters arrived.

"I thought I could hear voices from the house. I went and got a torch and ran down the side of the house and realised it wasn't coming from inside," said Preston.

He saw the 27-year-old on the drive with burns on his hands.

"He was moaning, 'I couldn't get to her, I couldn't save her'."

Preston said another resident helped him pour water on the man's hands until ambulance staff arrived.

"I ran back to see if I could help [the woman] but it was too thick with smoke. It was just too dangerous."

Lamberton said the house did not appear to have smoke alarms. The fire gutted the bedroom and there was smoke and heat damage to other parts of the building.

A St John Ambulance spokesman said the 27-year-old was taken to Middlemore Hospital with moderate burns.

The blaze is not being treated as suspicious. Fire safety investigators were working to establish the cause.

- STAFF REPORTERS