A former volunteer firefighter rediscovered skills he thought he had forgotten when he saw his Pyes Pa neighbour's home ablaze.
No one was home when the fire started in the Williams Rd North home about 8.30pm on Wednesday.
The man, who did not want to be named, said he had no idea his neighbour's house was on fire until a housesitter raised the alarm.
"So I raced down there and saw it alight. I was worried about the neighbours. I didn't know if they were home or not. Their vehicle was there."
The man had been a volunteer firefighter in Turangi about 20 years ago.
He used the fire extinguisher from his work truck to control the blaze until firefighters arrived.
"[Flames] were coming out the side window about 2m into the air. The iron on the shed had melted and the flames were shooting out of there like a jet engine," he said.
Tauranga fire safety officer Ken McKeagg said the neighbours saved the day.
"One of the neighbours spotted it and another neighbour drove down there and put the majority of it out with an extinguisher and put the rest out with a garden hose."
"If they had waited until we got there it [the house] would have been on the ground because it was way out in the country."
By the time three firefighting appliances from Greerton arrived the fire was pretty much under control.
The firefighters stayed another three and a half hours dampening down hotspots.
The couple who live in the home were shopping in Tauranga city and came home to find fire engines in the driveway and a burnt out toilet.
Mr McKeagg said the fire had started in the toilet area but he was unsure what had caused it.
The fire was contained to about 2 square metres and damage was fairly minimal, he said.
A small amount of framing was burnt, some of the cladding was scorched and there was minor smoke and water damage.
Property owner Bryce Matuschka said the quick response of the neighbour with the fire extinguisher had probably saved the building. His tenants were uninsured and would have lost everything, he said.
He also thanked the neighbours who had raised the alarm and the firefighters who finished the job.