MA explosions: At least 100 houses destroyed in 'gas leak'

Lester Mason
September 14, 2018

At least one person has been killed and others injured after a series of suspected gas explosions rocked towns north of Boston in MA on Thursday evening.

Leonel Rondon, from Lawrence, Mass., was sitting inside a auto when an explosion toppled a chimney that crashed into that vehicle, officials said.

Unitil, which serves parts of southern and Seacoast New Hampshire, said in a tweet it was "aware of the natural gas related fires in the Lawrence/Andover area".

Earlier Thursday before the fires broke out, the utility company that services the area announced it would be upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods across the state.

He warned anyone with concerns to leave their houses and head to North Andover High School, which is being set up as a gathering point.

A person is dead and dozens of homes have been set ablaze in a gas explosion fire in the USA state of MA. There were 38 fires in Andover alone and at the peak of the incident, 18 fires were burning at the same time.

Another six people are being treated in hospital.

There are no indications of foul play and local media reports suggest a possible rupture of a gas line is to blame with WBZ News reporting the first explosion was triggered by an overpressurised gas line.

Lawrence General Hospital said it was treating 10 victims, including at least one in critical condition.

Reached by phone, some local officials described scenes of panic as residents rushed to evacuate, many wondering if their homes would be next to erupt in flames. "One patient has been transported to another hospital", the Lawrence hospital said in a Facebook post. Schools in all three communities were canceled for Friday, and some schools were being used as shelters for residents.

Residents have been urged to ‘evacuate immediately
Residents have been urged to ‘evacuate immediately

It is believed the explosions were caused by gas leaks.

State police are reporing 70 fires and gas explosions were reported today.

The officials said that they are investigating and ease out the pressure on the gas pipes. A company spokeswoman did not immediately provide comment.

Gas technicians and first responders were going door-to-door reviewing thousands of homes in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover and shutting down gas mains.

Andover officials said they extinguished all 35 fires in their town after authorities struck a 10-alarm response, its maximum traditional fire response.

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon says there are so many fires "you can't even see the sky", while Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque said he's "never seen anything like this".

"We are coordinating with our law enforcement partners as expected and personnel are on scene, as we normally would be in a situation like this to assess the situation", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

"People need to get out of this area safely", he said at the time.

Laurie Williams, 55, who lives in North Andover, said she drove home to find police and fire vehicles blocking streets near her home, and found out three nearby buildings were in flames.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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