Dozens Of Fires, Explosions Break Out In Massachusetts Towns

Nearly 40 fires and explosions erupt in Massachusetts

As seen, incidents are across a wide swath of dozens of blocks across Lawrence and North Andover.

The three communities house more than 146,000 residents and are located about 42 kilometres north of Boston. "We are saddened to learn of the death of a young man as a result of these events", the statement read.

"Today on a number of very significant issues, we heard one thing and something else happened", Baker told reporters. "I don't think that anybody else managing this would've been further down the road than we are at the moment".

Entire neighborhoods were being evacuated in Lawrence. But Rivera criticized the gas utility for poor communications and accused the company of "hiding from the problem".

Authorities in MA say a natural gas issue is to blame for at least 39 fires that erupted in homes across communities north of Boston.

Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said, "How long is it going to take?"

Leonel Rondon, an 18-year-old Lawrence resident, died after a house explosion sent a chimney crashing into his auto, the Associated Press reported.

Police said they were dealing with explosions or fires in 39 locations.

On Thursday, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield described the unfolding scene as "Armageddon".

"We are asking everybody with gas in their homes to leave their homes until further notice", North Andover town manager Andrew Maylor told one local television station. However, it was not immediately known whether any work was being done in those communities at the time.

35 cases were reported in Andover alone. Most of Columbia Gas's leaks were due to pipe, weld or joint failures.

North Andover police drove through the downtown area to warn residents to evacuate their homes if they smelled gas and diverted officers to Lawrence to assist.

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The investigation into the cause of the explosions and fires remains active and ongoing. He said all fires are fully extinguished.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said it was dispatching a team to support the state's emergency response efforts.

According to the Methuen police chief, Joseph Solomon, 60 to 100 fires were burning across the area and several people were injured.

Crews work to knock down a fire.

The helicopter crew "likely prevented another catastrophic event", State Police said. However, Gas and electricity remained shut off Friday in most of the area, and entire neighborhoods were deserted. "Safety is our top priority", it said.

Those who needed to pick up important items like medicine from home were being transported by Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority. He said residents detecting odd odours should leave their homes.

The injuries range from smoke inhalation to "traumatic blast injuries", the hospital said, adding that its staff has been preparing "for multiple casualties".

The company has set up a claims hotline - 1-800-590-5571 - and will open a claims center at the Lawrence Public Library on Sunday for those whose property was affected by the incidents. "However, res/com demand spikes when it gets cold and scheduled deliveries to this meter peaked at around 80,000 MMBtu last winter", Fell said. Eversource said it had conducted a safety "stand down" on Friday morning with all of its gas crews to reinforce their commitment to safety and their gas operating procedures.

The governor said he urged Columbia Gas to develop a "comprehensive safety inspection plan".

Baker has ordered all state offices in the community closed on Friday. Grateful to all our first responders working to help. "Get out of your house and go north of the river". Most were still waiting, shaken and exhausted, to be allowed to return to their homes. Hours before the explosions, the company had unveiled plans to upgrade gas lines across MA, including in the areas where the blasts happened.

Sue Willis, 53, of North Andover, lives in an area considered safe.