A house fire in Franklin St yesterday afternoon, caused by a faulty washing machine, would have been far worse were it not for working smoke alarms.

Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Lee Swinburn said a neighbour heard the alarms about 2pm, and when the brigade arrived they found the laundry on fire.

"The good news was there was a working smoke alarm in the house. That definitely gave an early warning which restricted the damage."

Swinburn said the resident had left the doors to the laundry closed, which also helped. The area was severely damaged while the rest of the house suffered smoke damage. He said the brigade was on scene for an hour.

During that time High St was closed due to the brigade using a fire hydrant across the road.

Swinburn said the brigade always used the nearest "biggest water supply" and with the supply from Franklin Street being an auxiliary main, the decision was made to use a hydrant near the fire station.

- Greymouth Star