A wheelchair-bound 93-year-old woman has lost her Thatcher St home after a fire broke out inside but was able to escape the blaze thanks to the help of a young neighbour.
Two fire engines were called to the Castlecliff property at 9.14am on Saturday and took around an hour to extinguish the blaze.
A devastated Ainsley Riches said the fire happened in seconds.
"All this black smoke and the flames, my home and all my treasures all gone."
Whanganui Fire and Emergency station officer Jason Hamlin said the front half of the house was completely gutted and there was smoke damage in the back half of the house.
"The kitchen and the dining and the lounge and the first part of the hall and the laundry ... all kaput," Riches said.
Riches made her way on her walker to the front door which was open but said she could not get down the steps as she cannot walk very well.
A young neighbour, Jayden Wallace, then ran on to the property and helped Riches down the steps and to a safe place away from the fire.
"He came and got me off the porch. I couldn't go any further and the flames must have been coming because my hair's singed and my ear's singed but he got me off and then somebody came along and helped him."
Riches said she did not know who the person was that came to help Wallace.
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"Jayden, he's just wonderful."
Her caregiver, who was due to arrive at 9.30am, turned up to see the house on fire and helped Riches.
It was not until firefighters arrived that they found out she was wheelchair-bound, Hamlin said.
An ambulance attended but Riches had only a few bruises and no serious injuries.
Her family has now been given permission to go into the house to get some of her belongings.
Some of her clothes and Christmas presents have been able to be saved.
"Neighbours, strangers, they've been remarkable. I haven't got any family living here and [daughter] Kathleen and her husband live in Stokes Valley so they're taking me down there."
A fire investigator is determining the cause of the fire.