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The man was safely out of the inferno before the fire crews arrived.
He was taken to Te Nikau Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
About 50 firefighters from Runanga, Greymouth, Dobson, Blackball and Cobden eventually got the fire under control at the corner of Hall Jones and Ward Sts, after they were alerted at 3.47am.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand investigator from Nelson was yesterday sifting through the remains to try to establish the cause of the fire.
The early morning blaze had started at a house in Hall Jones St, where the occupant's two dogs perished.
The neighbouring house also caught fire and was soon well alight. It was unoccupied.
- Georgia O'Connor-Harding