House fire started by child with lighter

A house in south Auckland has been destroyed by a fire started by a child playing with a cigarette lighter under a bed.

Papatoetoe Fire Station Senior Station Officer Terry Jenner said there were multiple calls about the blaze in Otahuhu about 1pm.

Mr Jenner said the family who lived in the house were alerted by an 8-year-old boy who yelled 'fire, fire, fire'.

"The mother came outside and one of the daughters was not accounted for so the mother went back inside to try and find the daughter, was a little bit overcome by the smoke and managed to get out again.

"The unfortunate thing was the daughter had been outside the whole time but had not gone to what we call the safe meeting place, which in this case would have been the letterbox."

When firefighters arrived at the house on Clements St, the single storey home was engulfed in smoke and flames.

The four children were uninjured, while their mother suffered smoke inhalation and was treated by ambulance paramedics at the scene.

Mr Jenner said it was unclear whether there were smoke alarms because "every ceiling in the house is down on the floor".

Police said the incident highlighted the importance of ensuring matches and lighters were always kept out of reach of children.

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