FORENSIC police and fire investigators are on the scene, trying to piece together the cause of a house fire in Lakewood early Wednesday morning.
Authorities believe a working smoke alarm saved the lives of the three occupants inside the home. They managed to escape the home relatively unharmed.
An elderly woman, residing next door, collapsed near the scene and died in hospital after seeing the fire.
It is understood the Teal Close house in Lakewood caught fire shortly before 5am.
A Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said the house, south of Port Macquarie, was well alight when they arrived just after five.
A vehicle parked in the carport next to the house also was in flames.
"It took about 30 minutes for our crews to extinguish the blaze," Fire and Rescue NSW Commander Mark McGuire said.
"They did well to contain the blaze to the house of origin.
“Fortunately the smoke detectors did activate which probably saved the lives of all of them. The three people … have been taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation.
“We haven't determined the cause of the fire as yet."
Investigators are going through the burnt home, taking photographs and surveying the scene. There is no indication as yet of the exact cause of the fire.
A neighbour spoke of his shock and the actions of fellow Teal Close residents to help: click here.