A brave Invercargill child is being praised for their quick thinking after waking up to find their house on fire before escaping and phoning 111.

A Fire and Emergency spokeswoman said they received a call at about 3am that a house on Kilmarnock Ave, Invercargill, was ablaze.

The two children living at the residence managed to escape after they were woken by a smoke alarm, but their father remained inside. It was one of the children, believed to be about 12 years old, who phoned 111 after escaping.

Three fire trucks attended. When they arrived the father had managed to get out of the house, where the fire was well-involved.

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Firefighters had extinguished the fire, but there was extensive damage, the spokeswoman said.

There was no need for an investigation as it was clear the fire started in the kitchen, after a stove had been left on, she said.

"The child did a really good job," the spokeswoman said.

"They woke up to the smoke alarm and got outside straight away, and called 111.

"The situation shows the importance of having working smoke alarms."

St John Ambulance attended the scene but there were no reports of injuries.