A Mount Maunganui couple are crediting smoke detectors for saving their lives.
Val Lyons said it was the beeping of smoke alarms that alerted her to a fire that ignited in the ground floor of her home on Saturday.
"This is all about smoke alarms."
Her husband was watching TV with headphones on and was oblivious to the fire raging below him. Mrs Lyons came out to see what the commotion was about and discovered the fire.
"There was all this black smoke pouring out the vents," she said.
The fire service was called about 11pm and remained at the house until about 2am.
"When the fire brigade came they said we were five minutes away from the whole thing going up," she said.
"It's frightening. We just have to be thankful we're not a pile of dust."
An oil heater in the lounge was the cause of the fire.
Mrs Lyons did not realise the extent of the damage until builders started demolishing the affected areas.
Much of the downstairs area is being rebuilt and about half of the lounge floor has been removed leaving a gaping hole.
The smoke has left its mark throughout the house and all the couple's belongings have to be removed before the cleaners can repair the damage.