Firefighters rescued a woman trapped in the upstairs bedroom of a Whanganui house while a fire blazed in her downstairs living room.
"She put the call in herself," said senior firefighter Doug Bennett.
"I believe the smoke alarm woke her and there was smoke in her bedroom.
"The door was too hot to touch and she called us."
Mr Bennett said the woman was very lucky and the smoke alarm probably saved her life.
"People don't usually wake up in those situations unless an alarm goes off."
The woman said she had put out a fire in the downstairs area of her flat in Keith Street during the early hours of Sunday morning, and had then gone upstairs to bed.
"The fire may not have been properly put out and flared up again during the night," said Mr Bennett.
"It's timely to remind people to call us if they have extinguished a fire themselves.
"They can often appear to be out when they are still smouldering."
It was preferable to be called to a false alarm rather than to have to deal with a fatality, he said.
"We have infrared cameras to check if fires are still smouldering and that gives everyone peace of mind."
Police were directing traffic away from the section of Keith St between Glasgow and Dublin streets on yesterday morning, while firefighters extinguished the fire and St John Ambulance staff took the woman to hospital.
The woman's flat is on a rear section in Keith St and neighbours said they only smelled smoke after they heard sirens and went outside.