Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

MA towns rocked by 20 MASSIVE explosions - One dead 13 injured

MA towns rocked by 20 MASSIVE explosions - One dead 13 injured

Police confirmed fires were raging in three communities north of Boston due to suspected gas explosions in the area.

Indiana-based NiSource said in a statement: "Our thoughts are with everyone affected by today's incident".

Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency and put Eversource in charge of restoration efforts in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, saying he is not happy with the recovery so far by Columbia Gas following dozens of explosions and fires Thursday.

As Shafer was communicating with a Union Leader reporter, she said Massachusetts State Police told her and her parents they needed to evacuate the area. At least one person was killed in the explosions and several injured.

"Good thing I wasn't home or I wouldn't be talking about it", she said outside an elementary school in Lawrence that the Red Cross had converted into a shelter for about 170 people.

Andover and North Andover are updating lists of streets where homes have been inspected and cleared on their websites.

Fire burns in a home destroyed in a gas explosion in Lawrence, Mass., Thursday.

Streets were plunged into darkness as electricity lines were disabled to prevent further damage.

Boston: A man was killed while several others were injured after a series of explosions and fires rocked around 40 homes and businesses in three towns in MA on Thursday, according to the Essex County District Attorney's office.

It is unclear whether the people wounded in Andover are part of the group receiving care at Lawrence General Hospital.

Andover Fire-Rescue sent a 10-alarm response, the highest level. "Make plans for at least between now and this time tomorrow", Rivera said early Friday.

A man whose neighborhood was among dozens that erupted in fire says he ran into his basement to find that the room was glowing.

He ran downstairs and discovered his boiler on fire - and minutes later, he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house, causing the ground to shake.

Crews work to knock down a fire.

At least 10 people, including a firefighter, were injured by the fires, according to the Associated Press. Resident Ra Nam says he was in his yard when the smoke detector in his basement went off around 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday. Not all gas had been shut off by Thursday evening and some of the lines were overpressurized, officials said.

- A 2011 natural gas explosion killed five people in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and that state's largest gas utility was fined by regulators, who called the company's safety record "downright alarming".

The three communities house more than 146,000 residents and are located about 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Boston.

Police, fire, and utility crews will need to visit each of the approximately 8,600 affected homes to shut off and restart gas meters and conduct safety inspections before the homes are safe for normal activities. In a release dated Thursday the company had said it would "be upgrading natural gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state". "Number will grow. New responses ongoing".

If you must enter your home briefly to retrieve medication or other essentials, you can, Andover police said.

He said there were so many fires "you can't even see the sky".

Flanked by community leaders from Lawrence, Andover and North Andover Thursday night, Baker vowed, "we'll work with the federal government and others to investigate how this occurred and hold the appropriate parties responsible for their actions".

Massachusetts State Police say gas lines are now being depressurized by the company.

Lawrence police Chief Roy Vasque told local paper The Eagle-Tribune that he's "never seen anything like this".

It was not immediately clear whether there were any injuries.

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