Six injured after gas explosion destroys New Zealand house

The gas explosion completely destroyed a Christchurch house and injured five people

The family living in a Christchurch home that was destroyed in an explosion today had been waiting for someone to fix problems with their gas fire earlier this week.

Neighbour Brad Culver said he thought a plane had crashed into the house when he heard the explosion.

New Zealand emergency services evacuated residents near what they said was a suspected gas explosion in the South Island city of Christchurch on Friday (July 19) that left a house on fire and several people injured.

Local reports say that six people have been injured and are en route to hospital.

Neighbour and former New Zealand police officer Bradley Culver was watching television when the explosion happened, reports the NZ Herald.

Roofing tiles and insulation material was scattered over neighbouring properties.

"I'm happy it was a gas explosion and not a terror attack but I feel so sorry for those people who own the house", she said.

They were stunned, in total shock, he said, hardly able to talk.

The survivors had looked in surprisingly good shape given the damage, he said.

He added: "The house is matchsticks".

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Country Club employee Tom White said concrete tiles from the roof of the exploded house had been blown 100m in every direction.

Mining blast expert Professor David Cliff, of Queensland University, who gave evidence at the Royal Commission into the Pike River mine disaster, said he could only speculate how the five people inside the destroyed house survived.

All residents in Northwood are being asked to turn off their gas systems following the explosion.

"Once we've got the scene safe. we'll look at what's caused this and carry out an investigation with police and WorkSafe". It's totally blown apart.

"It was more than an natural disaster, you'd think a bomb had gone off".

"It was just a lot of rubble ... the house is no longer a house, it's half a house", he said. He helped pull fallen debris off of people and helped them get away. 'It's blown the garage door right of the next-door neighbour's house'. A further 17 properties have been impacted by debris.

"We've had housing insulation raining down on our property so something's obviously had quite a large explosion".

The impact was so loud, one nearby resident described it as a "sonic boom" that "shook" buildings.

"For the staff and everyone, it was certainly scary".

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