Some residents able to return to their homes after Christchurch gas explosion

Some residents have returned to their homes today after yesterday's gas explosion at Marble Court, Christchurch as police to continue to investigate the cause.

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Cordons remain around 12 evacuated properties in Christchurch where a total of 21 have been damaged, five so badly they might have to be demolished. Source: 1 NEWS

Police have today been working at the scene, alongside investigators from WorkSafe and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).

The cordon was reduced this afternoon to include Marble Court houses only, and the outer cordons have been lifted. 

The scene examination is set to continue tomorrow as residents have described the damage as far worse than the earthquake.

Resident Anne Stewart has her ceiling split in two, kitchen left exposed to the public and evidence of shattered glass everywhere.

"Far worse than the earthquake, that's for sure," she says.

Some residents are out of pocket with insurers unable to pay for emergency accommodation.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) Dave Stockhouse says five properties have been severely damaged and need reconstruction.

"We'll have a better idea later in the week with the insurers."

Four patients remain in hospital, three in a stable condition and one in a critical condition.

A fifth patient was flown to Auckland's Middlemore Hospital's serious burns unit but is now in stable condition, a Canterubury DHB spokesperson says.

A police presence will remain in Marble Court overnight.