By RNZ

Northwood residents will not be able to return home this weekend as police say the gas explosion investigation is days away from completion.

Police Metro Commander Lane Todd said a scene examination is being carried out by police, Fire and Emergency and WorkSafe investigators.

Cordons around 12 of the evacuated properties remain in place and the police are patrolling the area.

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People can be escorted to get medications and supplies but the 12 properties are too unsafe to enter.

"While they are getting access in terms of their medications or any supplies they require we expect that security and cordons will remain in place over the weekend until the investigation with the teams is completed," Todd said.

"We have had the gas company involved immediately after the incident and they've certainly been carrying out checks in the area."

An emergency centre in the Styx Mill Country Club will stay open to help residents in need until 4pm today.

Scene of a serious gas explosion in the suburb of Northwood in Christchurch. Photo / Amber Allott
Scene of a serious gas explosion in the suburb of Northwood in Christchurch. Photo / Amber Allott

Club chairman Bruce Mule said many residents are still yet to go into their homes for emergency supplies.

"We're asking everyone to go to that cordon. It's the only way you can get inside the area and to register your name and address there. They will soon be able to tell you whether you'll be able to go home or not.

"We've then got people at the Styx Mill Country Club at present who are unable to get into their houses and they've got concerns ranging from pets to animals plus medications and urgent clothes and paperwork they need and we're helping them on a case by case basis."

He said the Red Cross is also at the country club to help people and the Styx Mill Country Club Facebook page will be updating those impacted.

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Strong response from community

The Christchurch community is being praised for rallying behind residents whose homes are uninhabitable after yesterday's gas explosion.

A number of people have opened up their homes to at least 20 people whose houses are affected by the cordon and are without power and gas.

Styx Mill Country Club manager Tom White said they have received boxes of free food to pass on. They have also had support from charities offering donations and even a cattery has offered to house the evacuees' pets.

White said he has lived in the area for 14 years and to see everyone unite in support has been heartwarming.

A number of people have opened up their homes to at least 20 people whose houses are affected by the cordon and are without power and gas. Photo / Amber Allott
A number of people have opened up their homes to at least 20 people whose houses are affected by the cordon and are without power and gas. Photo / Amber Allott

Emergency services were called to the scene in Northwood at 10.16am, after the explosion in which six people suffered a range of injuries.

Three are now in a stable condition and one has been discharged, however, one person remains in a critical condition and another has been transferred to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.

Last night Fire and Emergency said the fire had been extinguished, and power and gas had been turned off at the affected properties.

All residents in Northwood were asked to turn off their gas systems following the explosion. Electricity has also been shut off in the area.

Residents have described doors blowing open, objects falling off their walls, and debris landing on their roofs after a gas explosion yesterday.

Mina Marinkovic, who lives nearby, said she woke to the bang.

"Hearing and feeling a large shake and a crack and actually quite a lot of our lights fell down," Marinkovic said.

"So of course we're like it can't be the lights, no way, so small and insignificant and then my friend who lives in Redwood asked me 'Did you hear that?' and of course I thought this is a lot greater than I thought it was and I look outside and see smoke escaping one of the houses."

The police say properties in Marble Court and Brookwater Avenue remain evacuated and cordons are in place.

WorkSafe, the police and Fire and Emergency are investigating the blast. A scene examination will be carried out today.

Area commander Dave Stackhouse said safety experts were still checking whether people could return to other houses behind a wider cordon.

Motorists are advised to follow diversions and avoid the area.

Marble Court, Brookwater Ave, Millstream Drive, Springbrook Lane, Brookfield Drive and Water Mill Boulevard are all closed.

Police said the cordons will remain until the site is safe, and the situation will continue to be reviewed over the coming hours.

The public is asked to avoid the area until police have completed their investigation.

- RNZ