Christchurch explosion: Rescuer reveals scene horror

One of the first people on the scene of today's gas explosion in Christchurch has spoken of the horror that they encountered.

The explosion destroyed one house on Marble Court, in the suburb of Northwood, and damaged several others. Six people have been injured and rushed to hospital - with injuries ranging from moderately serious to critical.

Bradley Culver was having a cup of coffee and watching the Open Championship golf on TV when the explosion happened.

The former police officer ran outside and saw a neighbour's house completely destroyed.

Several people were trapped in the debris of timber and mortar.

Culver and others started to drag them free.

They were stunned, in total shock, he said.

The survivors were pulled free from the wreckage. 

They were all aged in their 50s and 60s.

"I am surprised nobody died [instantly]," Culver said.

"As a former police officer I've seen a lot in my days but I've never seen anything like that."

Culver says he's shaken by the event.

The house where the explosion happened is totally destroyed, he said.

Chunks of roof tiles scatter the surrounding streets.

Another nearby resident, Indraj Fonsaka, revealed he was nearly blown off the toilet.

"It nearly knocked me off. I thought it was an explosion underground," said Fonsaka, who lives across the street from the blast.

His wife Akita was screaming from the garage.

They ran to each other and couldn't believe what they saw.

Pink Batts were raining from the sky and the house across the street was destroyed.
They both thought it was a meteor strike.

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

"The house is matchsticks. It's totally blown apart.

"It's caused a lot of destruction to other houses, its blown the garage door right off the next-door neighbour's house."

The explosion left the house completely destroyed. Photo: Facebook
The explosion left the house completely destroyed. Photo: Facebook

A neighbour who lives one block over said the explosion shook his house and knocked items off his windowsill.

"We're okay but there are houses closer which are stuffed," he said.

"The house where the explosion was - you wouldn't even recognise it as a house now.

"I think there are definitely some injuries. They got them out [of the house] but it could be serious."

Add a Comment





Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter