Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

1 dead, 12 injured in dozens of gas blasts near Boston

1 dead, 12 injured in dozens of gas blasts near Boston

One person was killed and least 10 were injured Thursday after suspected gas line explosions rocked three communities north of Boston, causing dozens of homes to ignite.

Authorities named the dead teenager as Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney toppled by an exploding house crashed into his vehicle.

"Firefighters literally were called to over 70 addresses in Lawrence, Andover, North Andover for reports of fires, explosions or gas odours".

Columbia had announced earlier on Thursday that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened.

Flanked by community leaders from Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, Gov. Charlie 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".

More than three dozen homes went up in flames Monday when fires and explosions erupted in northern MA in what were believed to be gas-related incidents, authorities said. They said he was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he died around 8:30 p.m. EDT of his injuries.

Officials have yet to identify what caused the explosions but said that pressure on natural gas lines...

CBS Boston station WBZ reports emergency crews have responded to dozens of different addresses and extensive damage could be seen at a number of homes.

The streets were darkened where authorities had cut off electricity and were shutting down gas service in an effort to stop further blazes. Video showed roofs and walls consumed by flames that billowed thick black smoke. A middle school in North Andover and a senior center in Andover were set up for evacuees, according to state police.

The former head of the agency, Mr Brigham McCown, called the series of gas explosions "unprecedented, at least in recent memory".

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NiSource spokesman Ken Stammen said Columbia Gas was investigating. "What we need folks to do is that if it's happening in your home, you have a amusing smell, just evacuate, come out to the street".

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

"It was very scary", she said.

North Andover resident Laurie Williams, 55, said she drove home from work to find police and fire vehicles blocking streets near her home, and learned that three buildings nearby were on fire.

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

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

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon told The Associated Press that up to 25 homes were on fire in the city of Lawrence alone.

Warren and Seaman said the last time they responded to MA for a major blaze was the Malden Mills factory fire in Lawrence in 1995.

Its parent company said Columbia Gas crews were performing safety checks, but did not explain what went wrong.

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