Gas Explosions Set Dozens Of Homes Ablaze In Multiple Boston-Area Communities

Teenager killed as 'gas explosions' set homes ablaze

Teenager killed as 'gas explosions' set homes ablaze

Live TV images showed firefighters battling blazes in the former mill towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, about 25 miles (40 km) north of the MA capital.

At least six people were injured and hundreds were ordered to evacuate their homes following a series of 70 explosions that rocked three communities near Boston on Thursday, apparently triggered by a gas pipeline rupture, local officials said. 28 and Salem Street were allowed to return home early Friday • Power shut off to South Lawrence, parts of Andover and North Andover.

Firefighters battle a house fire in North Andover, Massachusetts.

An 18-year-old Lawrence man, Leonel Rondon, died when one explosion knocked over a chimney that fell on his auto, a spokeswoman at Massachusetts General Hospital said.

Leonel Rondon, of Lawrence, was pronounced dead Thursday night at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, according to the Essex District Attorney's Office.

State officials told residents who have gas service from Columbia Gas of MA to evacuate their homes immediately and said gas lines were being depressurized by the company. Schools in all three communities were canceled for Friday, and some schools were being used as shelters for residents.

"This has been an overwhelming event", Mansfield told reporters, saying that fire companies responding to blazes were putting one house fire out only to discover another house on fire as they finished their work.

"The issue is there could still be a gas leak in your home, and the danger is that it's an invisible thing", Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said Thursday night.

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Andover officials say in a statement that all 35 fires in the town have been extinguished.

People cover their faces to protect themselves from heavy smoke.

"The police, fire, and first responders who've poured in from across the regions have done an incredible job, and I want to thank them for stepping up today", Gov. Charlie Baker said during a press conference early Friday morning.

Fire investigators suspected "over-pressurization of a gas main" belonging to Columbia Gas of MA led to the series of explosions and fires, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield told a news conference.

According to a release from Columbia Gas, the company was upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods across the state, with a focus on enhanced safety features.

It is not clear whether maintenance work was happening at the time of the blasts.

Entire neighborhoods were being evacuated in Lawrence.

Firefighters are at the scene extinguishing a gas explosion in the US.

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A MA man who spent the night in a shelter because of the risk of a gas explosion at his home says the ordeal was more confusing than frightening. "If you were to ask me to give a grade I think for all of this at this point it would be incomplete, there's a lot more to do".

Fitzgerald Billet walked a mile from a police blockade on the Andover-Lawrence line to reach his home on Crosby Street.

The investigation into the cause of the explosions and fires remains active and ongoing.

Nam says he ran downstairs and saw that his boiler was on fire. Minutes later, Mr Nam said he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house and the ground shook.

"There are multiple basement fires in Andover".

Aerial footage of the area showed some homes that appeared to be torn apart by blasts.

In nearby Methuen, police chief Joseph Solomon said 20 to 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence when he responded to help. "If you live in Lawrence, have a kid in Lawrence public school system, you have an address in Lawrence and you don't have documents, do not be afraid", he said. Lawrence, the largest of them, is a majority Latino city with a population of about 80,000.

Thursday evening, homes erupted in flames across the three towns, consumed by more than 60 suspected gas fires.

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Tami Lattime said crews came by her home about 2 a.m. Friday to shut off gas service.

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