A teenage girl remains in hospital with burns after the Hastings Housing New Zealand house she was in was gutted by a huge blaze last night .
The 17-year-old was believed to have been sleeping in the small back bedroom of the Albert St home which became engulfed by flames.
A woman who lived at the house and wished not be named, said she arrived home from the supermarket to see white smoke and "flames everywhere".
She had lived at the house for nine years, her two sons and her son's girlfriend were also living with her.
The teenager had managed to escape the house out of the back door. The woman said that when she arrived home the teenager was outside, her pyjamas stuck to her.
"At first I didn't realise she was burnt, I said to her are you burnt? She said yes."
"She was crying, she was in shock.
"She said something about the little heater exploding."
The upper half of the walls in the house were blackened from smoke damage.
Paint was peeling off the ceiling, the doors were blistered and parts of the ceiling had caved in.
At about 6.30pm, once the fire had been extinguished, a pungent, thick smell hung in the air and the two-and-a-half bedroom house was still warm inside from the fire's heat.
Photos on walls had bubbled and fire alarms had melted off the ceilings.
One of the woman's sons had arrived home with her and went running into the house while it was still ablaze.
She said she began to follow him, but seeing the extent of the fire screamed for him to get out.
"I could hear things popping and banging," she said, "the Xboxes and TV sets, I guess".
Her son had smashed a back window, concerned his other brother was still inside.
Thankfully, he was out walking the family's two dogs when the fire broke out.
He and his mother and their two dogs stood at the end of the driveway in disbelief as fire crews fought the blaze.
They had not yet been in to see the damage and were unsure when they would be able to muster the courage to do so.
"We're just hoping we can salvage something.
"There's nothing we can do anyhow."
The woman said the house did have smoke alarms, "they're a nuisance when we cook".
The family would now be going to stay with the woman's brother.
She said the teenager who had been home at the time did not have her cell phone when she left the house, "all she had was herself and her PJs stuck to her body".
Hastings fire service senior station officer Bruno Saathof said they were called to the fire at 5.50pm.
Three fire trucks attended and it took them about half an hour to contain the flames, he said
It was thought an electric heater may have caused the fire, but this had not yet been confirmed.
Station Officer Jamie Keenan said it was essential for all homes to have fire alarms within three metres of all sleeping areas.
Walking through the destruction he pointed to damaged photos and said they were the hardest things to deal with in the job, "it's the memories, people lose them".
He said the extensive damage probably would have happened in as little at six minutes.
Last night the teenager was listed in a stable condition.