QUICK-THINKING neighbours helped minimise damage caused by a South Launceston house fire late yesterday afternoon.
The blaze was caused by the Weedon Avenue home owner using heat to strip paint off weatherboards.
The activity triggered a fire inside a wall cavity of the house.
Neighbours were fast to act after seeing smoke billowing from the house.
Garden hoses were used to keep the fire at bay until Tasmania Fire Service crews arrived.
Two heavy tankers from the Launceston Fire Brigade took about 10 minutes to contain the fire.
Launceston senior station officer Danny O'Donnell said the fire could have caused serious damage.
"Dry materials used in older houses have the potential to ignite very easily," he said.
"If it wasn't for the neighbours noticing what was going on, things could have been far worse."
Smoke damage affected most of the house, but water and fire damage was restricted to a room adjacent to the kitchen. The damage bill is estimated at $20,000.