Dozens of people have been evacuated from the New Plymouth CBD after contractors working on the new Len Lye Centre hit a gas main.
Parts of the road at the intersection of Devon St and Queen St near the construction site have been closed to traffic and pedestrians.
The Atkinson building and the White Hart Hotel have been evacuated, and there is a strong smell of gas in the area.
Two fire engines were in attendance and fire fighters are trying to determine the size of the leak.
Fire senior station officer Nick Burke said the contractors had broken the main with a Bobcat digger.
He said fire fighters would have to dig a hole and clamp the pipe to stop the gas leak.
It may also mean some premises in the city are without gas until the pipe is repaired.
Mr Burke said he did not know how many properties would be affected.
He said they expected to have the pipe clamped within half an hour.
Taranaki Daily News