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Police and a hazmat unit from Invercargill were called at 6.40pm, following reports of smoke coming from windows at an Irving St residence.
The unit deals with hazardous substances.
Police Southland area commander Insp Mike Bowman said as a consequence a 23-year-old man was charged with unlawful possession of explosives.
He is due to appear in the Invercargill District Court today.
As a precaution, specialist Police and NZ Defence Force EOD staff were due to conduct an assessment at the property today to confirm there were no further risks present.
As the matter was before the courts, there was no further information available, he said.
Last night a police spokesman said officers were not sure what the cause of the smoke was and they were working to establish the circumstances around the incident.
A St John ambulance was in attendance last night but no injuries have been reported.