Almost 40 fires and explosions erupt in MA

EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock Firefighters gain entrance into a house through a basement window to check the gas line in Lawrence Massachusetts USA 13 September 2018. A series of reported gas explosions in

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency blamed the fires on gas lines that had become over-pressurised, but officials who responded to the area were still investigating the cause.

Lawrence General Hospital was treating six patients injured in the gas explosions, and two of them were in critical condition.

A spokesman for the Andover Police Department says residents in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover whose homes are serviced by Columbia Gas were urged to evacuate on Thursday afternoon.

He said the National Transportation Safety Board was also sending a team headed by its chairman, Robert Sumwalt, to investigate the disaster.

The teenager, 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, was killed after one of the explosions sent a chimney crashing onto his vehicle, Massachusetts State Police said.

Keefe, and Fire Chief Michael Mansfield report that the Town of Andover is now involved in a major gas-related emergency. A neighbor ran over and said: "Tyler, you need to get out of there now".

"Senators Markey and Warren are asking to hear from regulators and the distribution company Columbia Gas to understand how this incident occurred and what must be done to ensure these types of unsafe accidents do not happen again", according to a joint news release. He said all fires are fully extinguished.

Nam says he ran downstairs and saw that his boiler was on fire. Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said residents in the southern part of the city had been asked to leave their homes whether or not they were Columbia Gas customers, due to planned power cuts.

Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence were rocked by gas explosions and several fires around 5 p.m., drawing emergency responders from across the region to battle the between 60 and 80 fires that broke out nearly simultaneously due to a situation involving the communities' gas lines.

A fire engine is seen near a building emitting smoke after explosions in Lawrence, Massachusetts, US, September 13, 2018.

"Unlike other gas utility explosions that unfortunately occur every few years, this one appears to have been caused by the utility working on the gas lines immediately before the explosions occurred", the analysts said.

A day after a series of deadly gas-related fires and explosions tore through MA neighborhoods, the governor declared a state of emergency - just as authorities said they had detected a major gas leak under a street that could have led to a "catastrophic" event.

"You can't even see the sky", Solomon said.

The Eagle-Tribune newspaper in North Andover reports at least one home has been destroyed and several others have caught fire amid a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.

Thousands of residents were forced from their homes and into the street as city officials implored residents to evacuate the area immediately.

Columbia Gas was sued in 2014 after a strip club was destroyed in a natural gas explosion two years earlier. "More than 500 resources from several affiliated Columbia Gas companies and other utilities are now mobilizing to provide assistance".

He said hundreds of gas technicians were going house-to-house to ensure each was safe, and declared a state of emergency for the affected area so the state could take over recovery efforts.

Crews work to knock down a fire.

"I couldn't imagine if that was my house", said Razin, who purchased his home almost two years ago. Lawrence, the largest of them, is a majority Latino city with a population of about 80,000.

Massachusetts State Police said that the services responded to at least 70 cases of gas odour, explosions, and fires. Consolidated Edison later agreed to pay $153 million to settle charges after the state's Public Service Commission found Con Ed violated state safety regulations.

A firefighter stands over the gas leak.

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