Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Series of explosions ignites more than 70 homes in MA

Series of explosions ignites more than 70 homes in MA

One person died, several were injured and scores of MA residents were forced to evacuate their homes as dozens of fires raged following a series of gas explosions in three communities north of Boston. Andover, North Andover and Lawrence were included in the planned projects. The town of 35,000 residents is about 40 kilometres north of Boston near the New Hampshire border.

Asked about Baker's comments, NiSource spokesman Ken Stammen referred to statements from Columbia Gas President Steve Bryant, who spoke to reporters at a separate news conference after Baker's. "We are saddened to learn of the death of a young man as a result of these events", the statement read. "We have had similar issues on a much smaller scale". Grateful to all our first responders working to help. Students were waiting outside buildings for the gas to be shut off. Gov. Charlie Baker later clarified that he thought the company's response was "adequate". CBS Boston reported that Columbia Gas was doing work in the area earlier on Thursday.

According to authorities, 18-year-old Leonel Rondon of Lawrence died Thursday after an explosion at one home caused a chimney to fall on a vehicle in which he was sitting.

Dozens of others were injured.

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

A building burns after explosions in Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States in this September 13, 2018 photo from social media by Boston Sparks.

Local officials said at least one firefighter and two civilians were injured in the "gas-related fires".

Crews work to knock down a fire.

When it comes to leaks, though, Columbia Gas is doing better than National Grid. "However, it will take a number of years to eliminate the aging pipe from the gas distribution system".

The fire crews were from as far away as Foxborough and Oxford in central MA.

He said: "It's definitely a scary situation at the moment".

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said staff members were heading to Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, along with state fire investigators.

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Massachusetts State Police urged all residents with homes serviced by Columbia Gas in the three communities to evacuate, snarling traffic and causing widespread confusion as residents and local officials struggled to understand what was happening.

Tactical flight officer and Trooper Eric Fairchild was monitoring the aircraft's forward looking infrared camera "when he observed an anomaly under the pavement at the intersection of Broadway and Andover St".

In North Andover fire damaged a house on Waverly Road.

By late Thursday, all of the fires had been doused but many areas remained silent and dark after residents fled and power companies cut electricity to prevent further fires. "Safety is our top priority", it said.

"What happened in the Merrimack Valley yesterday was a tragic incident".

"The truth of the matter is we really don't have any factual information at this point to confirm", Sumwalt said on Friday. "It's very bad for the people affected, but a pretty small impact in terms of the gas market".

Medeiros said: "The entire town smelled like gas". Recent deliveries to the local distribution company from Tennessee Gas Pipeline "have been around 10,000 MMBtu, or 0.01 Bcf/d". Power was being shut off to the entire communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. "I respect the governor's judgment; the governor has the same interest as we do, we want to restore service to these customers". NPU said its assistance was to last through the weekend.

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

Teams consisting of gas technicians, fire and police personnel were going door-to-door to make sure the gas is shut off to about 8,600 meters.

Lawrence City Councillor Marc Laplante said "people need to get out ..."

"We continue to prepare for multiple casualties", the hospital said. Columbia Gas had the two most costly incidents - one in Springfield in 2012 and Canton in 2015. Before the explosions, Columbia Gas had said it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the affected suburbs.

To assist with the recovery, the American Red Cross established shelters in Lawrence and Andover that also accommodate pets.

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