Three minutes after a young man pulled a woman from her smoky South Auckland home flames began to roar and within seconds the entire house started falling to the ground.
Twenty-six-year-old Duran, who did not want to give his last name, spoke to the Herald about the heroic moment he slammed on his car brakeson the way to work and ran toward a house fire early this morning.
Police believe the blaze may have been deliberately lit.
"When I got there was no one around. I rang the fire brigade straight away and they asked if I knew if anyone was inside the house and I didn't know so I went knocking on the door ..."
After no one answered, Duran went around the side of the one-storey house in Te Irirangi Drive in Clover Park and spotted a woman who looked to be in her 60s rushing to grab her precious photos.
"I yelled at her, 'I know you want to keep your valuables but your life is more important'.
"She was stressed because she didn't know what to do and panicked because of her valuables but I managed to get her out about three minutes before the house started falling apart," Duran said.
Fortunately, no one else was inside the house at the time.
"It went down really fast, she was lucky to be out when she was," Duran said.
He managed to get footage of the blaze as fire crews fought to put it out.
Emergency services arrived at the burning property at 6.50am.
Papatoetoe Fire Station's senior station officer Tony Searle said when their three fire crews arrived the woman was clutching a bunch of photos watching her burning home.
"She was lucky to get out nice and early but unfortunately it was a bit late for her house to be saved," Searle said.
Searle said it took three hours to completely extinguished the blaze and the house was now "unlivable."
Housing New Zealand are now looking after her, Searle said.
"There is some suspicion of arson and it is possible but nothing's been ruled out yet and police are dealing with that," Searle said.
Duran said he gave his contact details to police and left shortly after.
"I'm not sure if [the woman] was hospitalised or not."
Police say they are treating the incident as a suspected arson and are in the process of examining the blaze. Inquiries are continuing.