Teenager dead as gas line explosions spark dozens of fires in Boston

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

Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield told reporters "it looked like Armageddon, it really did".

A spokesperson for Columbia Gas told NBC News that the company is advising people who smell gas in the Lawrence area to evacuate, get to a safe location, and not to open or close any windows or doors.

All of the fires had been doused late last night but many areas remained silent and dark after residents fled and after power companies cut electricity to prevent further fires.

At least one person has died and 12 people have been injured in the explosions.

MA has seen more than $20 million in damages caused by gas pipeline incidents in the last 20 years, according to federal data. The blazes were reported "across a wide swath of dozens of blocks" in the city of Lawrence and the town of North Andover, according to a tweet from the agency.

Merrimack College, a private Catholic school in North Andover, instructed its staff and students to evacuate "immediately".

He warned anyone with concerns to leave their houses and head to North Andover High School, which is being set up as a gathering point.

A house is destroyed by an explosion in Lawrence, near Boston.

Mary Jo Shafer, a copy editor at the New Hampshire Union Leader, was at her parents' house on Barnard Road in Lawrence as the first reports of fires were coming in.

Another victim was critically hurt in the fires, which broke out across three suburbs north of Boston. The hospital said one critical patient was taken to a trauma center, while the other injuries ranged from minor smoke inhalation to blast trauma.

A man whose neighbourhood was among dozens that erupted in fire says he ran into his basement to find that the room was glowing. Minutes later, Mr Nam said he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house and the ground shook.

Nam said a woman and two kids had made it out of the house, but the basement was on fire.

Officials were also shutting down power in the three towns, Massachusetts State Police said Thursday evening.

State Police estimated up to 38 homes were destroyed by the explosions and fires.

Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency and said he had put the utility Eversource in charge of managing the recovery, after expressing frustration with Columbia Gas, which services the area. It was not clear whether work was happening there on Thursday, and a spokeswoman did not immediately return calls.

At least one person died and 12 were injured after dozens of fires and suspected gas explosions erupted leading to mass evacuations from U.S. towns north of Boston, police said.

State police urged residents served by the Columbia Gas company, a unit of NiSource Inc, to evacuate their homes, saying the utility was cutting pressure to its lines and that it would take "some time" to shut off all service.

The state police said gas lines are now being depressurized by the company but warned that may take some time. More than 50 fire vehicles and 10 ambulances responded.

The residents of the three communities north of Boston, serviced by Columbia Gas, have been ordered to evacuate after a reported gas line rupture triggered a series of violent explosions.

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

MSP said it was too early to know the cause of the explosions and fires. "It's some kind of gas issue", Andover Police Department spokesman Lt. Edward Guy told Massachusetts' Eagle Tribune newspaper earlier in the day.

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