A Rotorua apartment building was saved by the sprinkler system after a kitchen fire.
At 6.20pm on Wednesday night Aaron Bell and his partner Janet Vesquez were cooking dinner in their apartment at Royal Court on Hinemoa St when the pan went up in flames.
They then placed it in the sink and tried to douse the fire in water but instead it sparked a "fireball", setting off the sprinklers.
Bell said the sprinkler in the kitchen and lounge both activated and the amount of water was "mind-boggling".
"I definitely feel very safe in the apartment now because it would almost be impossible for a fire to take over that.
"When you watch it on TV it looks like a gentle mist, but the only way I could actually describe it is like someone pouring a bucket of water over your head, but it just doesn't stop."
He said the team from ChemDry came out the same night to start the clean-up job and they were hoping to be back in "like it never happened" early next week.
"I can wholeheartedly say if anyone has the opportunity to install a sprinkler system like that, in their home or commercial building, having seen it in action, it definitely works to protect their property."
Fire safety investigator Stuart Booten said it was a "bloody good save" by the sprinkler system.
"Two fire crews from Rotorua raced down to the apartments to find the fire may be fast, but sprinklers are faster.
"If it wasn't for the sprinklers it would have been a fully involved apartment fire."
By coincidence, the apartment building had a fire drill practice on Tuesday morning so by the time fire crew arrived 80 per cent of the building had evacuated.
"The surfaces in the kitchen have suffered smoke damage, but the sprinklers did a good job."
Booten said when cooking it was important not to leave pans unattended.
"If a fire does catch don't put it under the tap or add water to it, because pouring water into an oil fire causes a fireball.
"Instead place a metal pan lid or a wooden chopping board on top of the fire to starve [it] of oxygen."
The couple will move back into the apartment within the next week but Booten said this could have easily caused injury or seen the serious damage.
He said he would definitely recommend people installing sprinklers in all new buildings, private or commercial.
"Having sprinklers was like having a firefighter in every room.
"When you're building a home from scratch they are not overly expensive, add very little cost to the overall build and are totally worth it."