Police have identified the man who died in a Panmure apartment fire yesterday.

He was 57-year-old Peter Vincent David Harrison, who lived at the Queens Rd property.

Seven fire trucks and 20 firefighters were called to the apartment block blaze at 1.39pm.

Experts are on site examining the scene for clues today and a post-mortem examination of Mr Harrison carried out today determined he died as a result of the fire.

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Investigations into the small, smouldering fire are continuing.

The Fire Service at the scene of a fatal fire on Queens Road in Panmure. Photo / Jason Oxenham, NZ Herald
The Fire Service at the scene of a fatal fire on Queens Road in Panmure. Photo / Jason Oxenham, NZ Herald

Auckland City Fire Service assistant area commander Dave Woon said Mr Harrison was believed to have been in bed, on the ground floor.

He was dragged from the house unconscious, and CPR was performed, with no success.

Queens Kebab owner Majid Soleymanyfard said a customer passing his shop came running in to tell him the back of the building was on fire.

Mr Soleymanyfard said he saw smoke billowing out of the top of the building.

He reported the blaze to 111 who were at the site within five minutes, he said.

Many of the people living in the apartments behind his shop are customers, he said.

"I've been in here five years and nothing like this has happened. We feel very sorry. I wasn't thinking that it was that serious," he said.

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Earlier in the day, a horror house fire in South Canterbury killed two parents and their son.

Tej Kafle, 49, wife Tika, 38, and the youngest of their four children, 9-year-old Pream, perished in a blaze that engulfed their five-bedroom flat above their Everest Indian Restaurant in Waimate about 7.40am.

Their deaths have orphaned sisters Tulsa, 23, Manisha, 16, and Mamata, 11.