A man who suffered serious burns as he fought to save his family in a house fire last month has died.

Bruce Smith, of Piha, died late last week after what his family say was a strong and courageous fight in hospital.

Smith, in his 50s, was airlifted to Middlemore Hospital's burns unit in the early hours of Wednesday, December 6, after a fire broke out at the family's two-storey home in West Auckland.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 3.30am.


The main road in and out of the popular beachside settlement was closed for several hours.

Members of Smith's family confirmed his death via an online fundraising page set up to help his wife Jane and the couple's two children, Toby and Annie.

Fire and Emergency northern communications shift manager Paul Radden said at the time that volunteer and paid crews from across West Auckland fought the Piha Rd blaze.

The specialist hazardous materials unit from Auckland city was called because of possible asbestos fears.

Radden said half a dozen firefighters would be decontaminated as a precaution.

The property, partway down the steep main road to the beach, was engulfed by flames. A witness said it was so intense its glow lit up the valley.

Fire crews had to ferry water from a stream and reservoir at the bottom of the hill to fight the fire.

Piha General Store manager Peter Chapman said crews were working hard to save the building in challenging circumstances.


"Our hearts go out to the family involved. It's a pretty sad time."