A puppy had to be given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by Wanganui fireman Gary Wilson after a central city cottage was gutted by fire late yesterday afternoon.
Mr Wilson rescued the dog from the fire and the pup was still alive when handed over to a vet.
Wanganui fire service area commander Bernie Rush said the 1920s wooden cottage in Plymouth St was well alight when two fire trucks arrived around 4.15pm.
The service had mistakenly been given a Liverpool St address, but firefighters were able to see the smoke billowing skyward and raced to Plymouth St.
Mr Rush said a woman occupant of the house had gone into the bedroom and seen an electrical cord sparking. She went to get water, but when she returned the spark had ignited a bed and had spread up the wall.
"From the exterior, the wooden house looks intact, but the interior is pretty much destroyed," Mr Rush said.
An exterior wall and the roof area of the house next door were also damaged.
Mr Rush said the incident provided an important reminder to check all electrical equipment.
"Heaters, extension cords and fans should all be checked to make sure they are working and safe."
The recent fire at Utiku in north Rangitikei, in which 28-year-old farm worker Hamish Allen died, was caused by a faulty heater, Mr Rush said.
Last night the two fire teams were at the house for up to four hours, dampening down hot spots.
"It is old timber and the fire gets deep-seated in the timber."