A large explosion has occurred in Clyde St, Invercargill.
The explosion rang out across the Invercargill CBD about 3pm and emergency services rushed to the scene.
A police spokesman said it was a gas bottle explosion outside Southern Brakes and Driveline Ltd in Clyde St.
An eye witness, in Clyde St, said he saw a man lying on the ground after the explosion. The man's eyes were open and he was talking to bystanders, but he looked in ''bad shape'', the witness said.
Two people have been taken to Southland Hospital.
A ambulance communication spokesman said a man in his 40s had serious head injuries.
It is understood that gas bottle was on the back of a Downer ute.
Nearby businesses also reported their premises shook by the blast, and some thought a bomb had gone off.
A cordon runs from Tweed St to Balmoral Dr to keep people away.
Police said the gas bottle could potentially explode again. Firefighters remain at the scene hosing down the area, where the explosion happened.
Shop windows at Southern Brakes and Driveline Ltd and Ramset New Zealand have been blown out, a witness said.
The witness said there were a lot of people on the road and emergency services were outside Southern Brakes and Driveline Ltd in Clyde St.
The explosion also caused problems with calls from the Telecom network.
Telecom head of public affairs Conor Roberts said there was a temporarily overload on the network following the explosion, as everyone in the Invercargill CBD called each other to find out what was going on.
The Southland Times