Construction of a new community in the remote town of Mangere has been suspended after an explosion sent debris and ash flying across the town’s streets.
Residents were evacuated from their homes after the blast at 7:00pm (AEST) on Monday.
Police said the cause of the explosion was still under investigation.
“The area has been closed for safety reasons and the town has been evacuated,” a police statement said.
A fire truck has been parked in the area.
Mangere residents, who are also from the nearby town of Togaga, said they were surprised by the sudden closure.
“It was just an explosion that shook our houses,” resident Jocelyn Ralston told ABC Radio Brisbane.
She said the town was used to building homes and it was not the first time that the town had been affected by a major explosion.
Emergency crews and the local fire brigade were on the scene at the time.
“We heard a loud boom, we heard an explosion, and the house next door exploded, so we ran outside and the first thing I did was put on my protective suit and ran to the emergency services,” she said.
“Then when I got outside we saw a lot of debris and some fire engines coming in.”
Residents told local news station ABC Radio Tauranga they had been staying at a friend’s house in the town.
The town, about 30 kilometres north-east of Brisbane, is a small community that was founded in 1854 and is known for its sheep- and cattle-herding heritage.