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Passerby Saves Man At House Fire That Killed Two In Auckland

Fire hero Jonathan Asafo. Photo: RNZ/Marika Khabazi

The parents of the sole survivor of a fatal house fire in Auckland say they are devastated by the tragedy that killed their son's two friends.

Two people died and a third was taken to Middlemore Hospital with serious injuries after fire in Manurewa.

Firefighters found the home on Freshney Place well ablaze about 7am on Monday. The cause is not known yet.

House fire in Hillpark in Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Melanie Earley

The father of one of those living at the property broke down in tears as he spoke to journalists outside the house.

He said one of his sons and his two mates were in the house at the time of the fire.

His son managed to escape but was badly burned, he said. He was expected to recover although he would need plastic surgery.

"I don't know what to say ...I'm waiting for other family to arrive. We still don't know what's actually happened," he said through his tears.

The father said his mother and his 91-year-old grandmother usually lived at the house alongwith the three others.

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When he got the first phone call about the fire around 7am he didn't know who was in the house.

It later emerged his mum and grandmother were staying at his sister's place in Pukekohe.

He and his wife were at the house about 8pm last night and everything seemed fine.

Jonathan Asafo, who lives two minutes from the fire scene, was on his way to drop off his son in daycare.

"And as I drove past, I saw the whole house on fire and then I quickly reversed back and seeing as noone was on the road and noone knew the house was on fire, I quickly ... drove up the driveway and I started tooting my horn and then calling, running around for any response."

He saw a truck in the driveway, and with flames coming out of the house he ran to the neighbour's house and alerted them.

A woman and four children emerged from that house.

By the time he returned a survivor had made it onto the back lawn. He had been sleeping downstairs, Asafo said, but he feared for his two friends who had been sleeping upstairs.

The young man was in shock, Asafo said, and the skin had burnt off his hands.

He escaped the fire after hearing Asafo's horn.

"He quickly went through the back door ...[he was] fully in shock."

By the time Asafo was talking to him firefighters had arrived.

Asafo did not know anyone living at the house.

"It's just sad that we weren't able to do anything more to rescue the other two but I guess being able to help one victim is better than [nothing]."

Hillpark fatal house fire

The scene of the fatal house fire. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

He was also worried for his three-year-old who was in the car in the driveway so moved his car away from the property.

Another neighbour, Elenoa Salegagoai, whose children were sleeping shouted to them to get up and leave the once she spotted the flames out the window.

She said two elderly women usually lived at the property.

"That's so lucky they're not there."

She also saw a distraught survivor and didn't realise at the time that two others were still inside the house.

A Fire and Emergency spokesperson said five crews and one command unit were sent to the fire.

Around 20 firefighters are at the scene.

The wooden two-storey home's windows have broken due to the force of the fire.

Neighbour Lee Veo said she heard banging and glass breaking as the fire took hold.

"It sounded like someone was bashing down walls, breaking glass ... so I looked out the window and the flames were really tall."

Fatal house fire in Hillpark in Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

Now she was waiting to find out the identity of the victims.

Auckland councillor Daniel Newman, who has dealt with the family previously on stormwater issues, said the deaths were devastating.

He said the family were engaged members of the community.

Fatal house fire in Hillpark in Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

Police and St John are also attending.

Three ambulances and a rapid response vehicle attended.

Police have asked drivers to avoid the area.

The road has been blocked off from traffic

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