The person whose body was found following a caravan fire in Invercargill early today was a 45-year-old woman, police say.

The caravan was on a residential property on Bluff Highway near Kew Road.

Seven other people, including children, suffered smoke inhalation when the fire spread to an adjacent house, Southern District Command Centre Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said.

They have since been treated at Southland Hospital.

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``Emergency services were called to the address shortly before 5am when a passing member of the public discovered the fire and alerted the occupants of the address.

``The caravan and the house were well alight on arrival of the emergency services. The cause of the fire is not known, police and victim support are working with the families and the deceased's name is not available.''

The prompt action of the passing member of the public likely prevented further fatalities, Mr Benn said.

An investigation into the fatal fire was underway.

Southern fire communications shift manger Rewai Grace said when they arrived the caravan was fully alight and the blaze had spread to a neighbouring house.

Five appliances were sent to the scene to extinguish the blaze.