Lake Ōhau residents say they owe their lives to one man and his dog Hebe who went door-knocking to alert neighbours about the blaze.
The unknown man and his dog set off the town's emergency alarm early on Sunday morning and went door knocking around the village after waking up to the flames.
Resident Steve Simmons, who was staying in his holiday home at Lake Ōhau with his teenage son, said this action possibly saved his family's lives.
"I don't know who knocked on my door and I still don't know who rang the bell but honestly, I think whoever it was possibly saved our lives," he told Newshub.
Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said waking the neighbours up as soon as they recognised the fire was a selfless act.
"It's a testament to the community about how much they look out for each other," Kircher said.
Twizel Chief fire officer Simon Fox said the blaze was massive.
"I looked out my door and saw a massive glow above the hill and thought, 'oh.. this is massive'," he said.
"There was someone there who was doorknocking. They just didn't take their own safety into consideration, several residents I believe went door-knocking to raise the alarm."
"They have a warning system in the village. Some people responded to that warning system, some slept through it."
For those who did - tonight praise for a mystery man and his dog who sounded the alarm.