Christchurch explosion: New Zealand city street evacuated as ‘bomb-like’ sound erupts

Clay Curtis
July 19, 2019

A house remained on fire and police had closed roads and were carrying out evacuations.

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

Fifty residents have been evacuated from the suburb of Northwood and emergency crews have cordoned off the scene.

Several have been injured in the house explosion.

James Looyer, who filmed the extensive damage, said he had helped evacuate people aged between 50 and 70 from the rubble.

Locals helped the occupants of the home get to safety before reaching for a nearby hose as they waited for emergency services to arrive.

Video shows the roof blown off the house and the walls crumbling, with rubble littering much of the street and debris seen on top of neighbouring houses' roofs. A further 17 properties have been impacted by debris.

"We're working the street over and we just heard the biggest bang we've ever heard, it felt like an quake".

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'We were trying to talk to [the people there] and they were just stone cold, ' he told Stuff.

Up to 50 people could spent the night away from their homes.

Neighbour and former New Zealand police officer Bradley Culver was watching television when the explosion happened, reports the NZ Herald. A Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said a fire investigator was at the scene but did not yet have any official information about the cause.

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

James Looyer, who witnessed the incident, told Stuff.co.nz he was working close by when he heard the explosion.

Facebook users reported hearing what sounded like an explosion all over the city, from Avondale, Bryndwr, Woolston, Parkland and Redwood, of which the resident said their house shook. "It's caused a lot of destruction to other houses, its blown the garage door right off the next-door neighbour's house", he said.

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

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