MA explosions damage so many homes 'you can’t even see the sky'

Aaron Brown
September 15, 2018

Police told CNN earlier that the gas explosions set fire to dozens of blocks and forced evacuations for residents living in the three towns.

A statement from Indiana-based NiSource said its "thoughts are with everyone affected by today's incident" and that it appreciates the response from local emergency crews.

Baker previously said authorities hadn't heard directly from Columbia Gas, but later called the company's response "adequate".

State police urged residents served by Columbia Gas to evacuate their homes.

Investigators worked Friday to pinpoint the cause of a series of dramatic natural gas explosions that killed a teenager who had just gotten his driver's license and was sitting in his auto, injured at least 25 others and left dozens of homes in smouldering ruins.

At least three people have been injured in Andover, including one firefighter and two civilians, town officials said in a statement.

Some 70 fires, explosions or investigations of gas odour had been reported, Massachusetts State Police said.

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.

Authorities said an estimated 8000 people were displaced at the height of Thursday's (Friday NZT) post-explosions chaos, though some were cleared to return to their homes in one of three towns north of Boston rocked by the disaster.

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

At the peak of the situation, they say 18 fires were burning at the same time in Andover.

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

When he ran downstairs and saw the boiler on fire, he quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and put it out.

Fire crews from around MA and Southern New Hampshire worked together Thursday to extinguish the dozens of fires that broke out throughout the afternoon and evening.

In North Andover, town selectman Phil Decologero said his entire neighbourhood had gathered in the street, afraid to enter their homes. Nam said a woman and two kids had made it out of the house but the basement was on fire.

Live TV images showed firefighters battling blazes in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, about 25 miles (40 km) north of the USA city.

At least four people are being treated for injuries after a series of fires north of Boston that authorities blame on a natural gas issue. Andover officials told NGI that 35 fires in their town had been extinguished by 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Not all gas had been shut off by Thursday evening and some of the lines were overpressurized, officials said.

The former head of the agency, Brigham McCown, called the series of gas explosions "unprecedented, at least in recent memory". State officials told residents who have gas service from Columbia Gas of MA to evacuate their homes immediately and said gas lines were being depressurized by the company.

Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were included Thursday morning in an alert from Columbia Gas of MA telling customers on its website that it was "upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods" across the state.

It wasn't immediately clear if anyone was injured.

State Police say they have confirmed fires at 39 locations but warn the number will grow. Some 50 fire departments responded to the emergency, said John McArdle, fire chief of Plaistow, New Hampshire, which sent a tower ladder and engine crew to the scene. He said there are 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".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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