The woman rescued from a house fire in Keith St has been released from hospital and although shaken is doing well, according to a fire investigator.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand's Whanganui fire-risk management officer Jess Hicks said she spoke with the woman on Monday.
"She is very lucky that she will be able to spend Christmas with her family," Ms Hicks said.
"She had a working smoke alarm that probably saved her life. She's very shaken up but she's doing well."
The woman's daughter Joleen Scott posted on the Wanganui Chronicle's Facebook page: "Still looking very much like she has lost most of her possessions, and can't work for a while because of smoke inhalation, but she is very grateful to [fire crews], as are all of her children and grandies."
Ms Hicks said her investigation confirmed the cause of the fire early on Sunday morning was an oil burner candle.
It had caused a fire that the woman had tried to put out herself before going upstairs to bed. However, the fire flared up again.
"She was woken by the smoke alarm and remembered to get down and get low to help her breathe in those conditions," Ms Hicks said.
"A police officer was first to arrive and then our guys arrived and rescued the woman from upstairs in the flat. One of our crew broke a window to help the woman to breathe until they could get her out.
"Their really quick actions meant there was limited fire and water damage to the building although there's a lot of smoke damage. The main fire damage was contained."
Ms Hicks said people should always call Fire and Emergency, even if they had put out a fire themselves.
"It's really important that people call us. Sometimes fires can seem to be out but they keep smouldering and that's what happened in this case. That goes for cooking fires on stoves as well. We would rather people called us - that's what we're here for."
Ms Hicks said Fire and Emergency staff did free home fire-safety visits.
"It's a good reminder to give the gift of life. Check your family's smoke alarms - they're a great Christmas present idea if your family doesn't have them. If people have a smoke alarm, we can install it for them and the best place is on the ceiling.
"We also want to remind people that if they have family and friends coming to stay over Christmas to make sure everyone knows the escape plan for the house and your safe meeting place."