Smoke alarms saved the lives of a mother and father and three young children in the Wellington suburb of Strathmore over the weekend, firefighters say.

They were called to the scene of a fire on Sunday evening, and by the time the first crew arrived one corner of the house, including the front door, was fully ablaze.

"If the home hadn't had working smoke alarms there would likely have been five deaths because the front door was the only exit from the house," Fire and Emergency New Zealand Assistant Area Commander Gareth Hughes said.

"The alarms alerted the family to the blaze and they were able to escape through the front door before the fire took hold."


The fire started while the occupants were briefly distracted while cooking. It severely damaged the kitchen and hallway and caused significant smoke damage to the rest of the house.

The family, who escaped without injury, were initially looked after by neighbours before staying with family.

Four crews from the Newtown, Kilbirnie, Wellington City and Brooklyn fire stations got the blaze under control in around 10 minutes, and had the fire fully extinguished several hours later.