Neighbours shocked by Christchurch gas explosion

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Friday, 19 July 2019, 2:31PM

Mary Messeha was boiling eggs for wee Jacob's morning snack.

The 20-month-old was playing in the lounge while elder sister Lily, 9, chilled out on the iPad.

Just moments before the enormous explosion rocked their house, Jacob had been playing near a large wall clock.

"Suddenly there was a very big, loud noise and the clock came crashing down," says mum Mary as she recovered from the traumatic event at a friend' place.
"We were all freaked out, especially the kids."

After the explosion, which she thought must've been a giant earthquake, she ventured outside.

Neighbours were crying and dazed. Rubble – roof tiles, insulation, wood fragments – were scattered across the street.

The gas blast completely destroyed a Christchurch house and injured six people. Photo / Amber Allott. The gas blast completely destroyed a Christchurch house and injured six people. Photo / Amber Allott.

Messeha could flames and smoke coming from a house over on the very next street, Marble Court in the new northern Christchurch suburb of Northwood.

Messeha asked a stunned Brockwater Ave neighbour if it had been an earthquake.

"They said, 'No, it was an explosion'. My first thought was that it was a terrorist explosion and I was so scared," she said.

The Messehas had just moved to Christchurch from Levin.

Daughter Lily, due to start a new school on Monday, immediately said she wanted to return to the Horowhenua.

Messeha phoned her pharmacy manager husband George.

He wasn't aware that anything had happened but she assured him they were all okay.

Police soon came and evacuated the area. Messeha took the terrified kids to a nearby country club before a friend came and put the up at their house.

Messeha is unsure when she'll be allowed to return home.

But for now, she's just grateful it wasn't even worse.

"I'm happy it was a gas explosion and not a terror attack but I feel so sorry for those people who own the house," she said.

"I hope they are okay and getting through this. It's just a terrible thing to have happened

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