A house has been destroyed in a massive gas explosion in Christchurch.
Police say a house is on fire on Marble Court. Six people were injured in the explosion.
They have since been transported to hospital, with their conditions ranging from serious to moderate, Fire and Emergency New Zealand area commander for Christchurch metro, Dave Stackhouse, told 1 NEWS.
One house is destroyed, five are "severely affected" and 17 others impacted by debris.
"We've evacuated all the residents of this area from Brookwater cul-de-sac back through to Marblewood Lane back to the Styx Mill Country Club where they're being looked after."
The scene is swarming with police, St John Ambulance and fire trucks.
Witness at the scene Ann Gray told 1 NEWS her house shook and she originally thought the explosion was an earthquake, she would have guessed about 7.5 magnitude.
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But then saw debris, including wood, billow into the air.
"It was massive ... bits of wood and everything," she said. "It was like the whole house had exploded.
"Then I came outside and you could see the fire, the flames and the black smoke."
A woman who lives in the area told 1 NEWS she thought a plane had blown up when she heard the bang.
"Gees, it was awful," she said. "Our whole back door had blown open and I saw these pieces of material flying through the air.
"It was incredible, very scary though because I was actually cooking on gas at the time and I thought "that has to be a gas explosion"," she said. "I feel very sorry for the people inside."
Brad and Megan Culver who live directly behind the house that exploded, were at home when it happened.
Their own house has significant damage.
"Everything in our house just sort of exploded, glass, everything," Megan said.
Brad added that the lights came down and the roof lifted up. "I thought that a plane had crashed and exploded behind our house."
"Once I knew Megan was okay I ran out to assess what was going on and saw the smoke coming up behind us," Brad said. "The house [which exploded] was in a complete pile of timber, and rubbish. You couldn't even conceive that it was a house, there was nothing left standing."
Brad said they started pulling people out of the ruins - five people, he'd been told. "We got all five of them out before the emergency services came."
He said they were in shock, but only had superficial injuries. "Cuts, bruises, that sort of thing. It didn't look like any life threatening injuries."
However, their injuries are yet to be confirmed.
The couple moved to New Zealand from the US eight years ago, but had only lived in their house for six months.
A witness who lives in Northwood told 1 NEWS she heard a "sonic boom" that caused the doors in her house to blow open.
She described seeing plumes of smoke billowing from the scene, which is understood to be near BestStart Styx Mill Childcare Facility.
People have reported hearing the explosion in Rolleston, 30km away.