A Waikato resident had a lucky escape after an early-morning fire gutted a house south of Hamilton.

The fire, in the small township of Pirongia, broke out at 4.30am and at its peak 30 firefighters were tackling it.

New Zealand Fire Service shift manager Paul Radden said the two-storey house was well alight when firefighters arrived.

He said one person suffered smoke inhalation and was treated by the brigade and left in the care of ambulance.

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Radden said it was unclear how many others were in the house at the time.

A small number of crew remain at the site, dampening down hot spots.

A fire investigator was also establishing the cause of the fire.