A four year-old boy playing with a cigarette lighter is believed to have sparked a fire which destroyed his house in Rawdon Island on the NSW mid-north coast.
Police say the boy's 36-year-old father pulled the pre-schooler and his two other children to safety before calling the police.
We would also strongly recommend parents explain the danger of fire to older children
But despite attempting to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose, the man was unable to rescue the three-bedroom brick house which was destroyed along with the family's possessions.
Police say the young boy may have been playing with the lighter in his bedroom when a fire broke out in a pile of clothes.
The fire is not considered suspicious, police said.
The incident has prompted police to urge parents to be cautious about their children and their access to lighters and matches.
Detective Inspector Kim Fehon said the weekend fire could have easily been a greater tragedy.
“It's essential that matches, lighters or BBQ fire-starters should be kept securely out-of-reach of children at all times,” Detective Fehon said.
“We would also strongly recommend parents explain the danger of fire to older children, especially following the reports of children being responsible for several fires across the State in past weeks."