A Rotorua family have lost all their possessions after fire ripped through their home, but have been praised for their actions to escape safely.
Firefighters were called to the rental property on Clayton Rd about 5.45am yesterday. The occupants were a mother and four children - two teenagers and two under 10 years old.
The woman did not respond to Rotorua Daily Post enquiries yesterday but she received high praise from firefighters.
"The room of the fire was usually where mum slept but she stayed last night in the lounge watching a movie on a mattress with the two younger children," fire safety investigator Stuart Bootten said.
"[The mum] thought she could smell something and got up to have a look. She couldn't see anything so opened the bedroom door and saw the fire. Smoke came out of the room into the hallway and set the fire alarm off."
The woman woke up her two teenage children, sleeping in another bedroom, and was able to get the younger ones out of the house, Mr Bootten said.
"The [children] already did the Firewise [programme] through their school and had practised learning it for real. They got down below the smoke and went to the meeting point at the letter box, which had been pre-arranged, and then mum got one of the little ones to call the fire brigade, so that worked extremely well."
Fire crews from the Rotorua and Ngongotaha stations attended and the fire was "well involved" when they arrived.
A nearby resident, who did not want to be named, said he raced over to try to help.
"I was seeing if I could help put it out in the bedroom but it spread too fast. I feel sorry for them, they've lost quite of bit of things," he said.
Mr Bootten credited the family for being prepared and having working smoke alarms installed.
"That is so positive to see because, so many occasions, we go along where smoke alarms aren't working and people are injured, they're not getting out as they should do and they're getting smoke inhalation," Mr Bootten said.
"This is a really good example of the whole family remembering what they have learned, it makes the fire service proud to know that we're getting our message across to our children to protect them. It's a big part of our 2020 vision to continue with our Get Firewise [school programme]."