Boston-area gas explosions kill at least 1, injure 13, trigger evacuations, officials say



Suspected gas explosions hit communities in Massachusetts

Local police chief says 20 to 25 houses on fire in the community near Boston.

At least one person was killed and 13 were injured in Massachusetts Thursday after a series of gas explosions tore through the communities outside of Boston, the officials said.

Leonel Robson, 18, was in his car when a chimney of a house explosion fell on his vehicle, the Essex County District Attorney’s office said. Robson was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

MSP Fusion Center has current measurement of the response to fire/explosion/investigation of the gas smell 70. Spread over a wide swath of the south #Lawrence and northern part of #NorthAndover with a number of others in the Merrimack River in north Lawrence.

— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) September 13, 2018

At least 13 patients were taken to Lawrence General Hospital as a result of the gas burning. The hospital said a critical patient was transferred to a trauma center, while the other injuries ranged from slight smoke inhalation to destroy trauma.

Preliminary figures estimate that between 60 and 100 homes in the Merrimack Valley caught fire in the cities of Lawrence, andover and North Andover, Methuen Police Chief Joseph Soloman said.

Lawrence MA.
Gas explosión, múltiple houses on fine. This is on Market Street

— julissa (@jliss1979) September 13, 2018

The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) confirmed on Twitter that at least 70 locations were affected by fire, explosion and “a study of the gas smell.”

The residents in the aforementioned cities that include Columbia Gas of Massachusetts “must vacate their home immediately if they have not already done so,” the police advised. Gas service was shut down by the company to approximately 8,000 customers.

Firefighters battle a house fire in North Andover, Massachusetts, on Thursday as one of several emergency workers respond to a series of gas explosions and fires caused by a problem with a gas line that feeds the homes in the different communities north of Boston.

(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

“Numerous evacuations of areas where gas smells are underway,” MSP tweeted. Columbia Gas is working to bleed the gas line, which “will take some time,” while the National Grid cut electricity to the three cities “to reduce spark began to burn.”

Solomon, who noted there were no fire in Methuen, but the city is first on the scene helped areas in need, said that in Lawrence alone, there were about 20 to 25 homes in a fire. He said that there are so many fires “you can’t even see the sky.”


Burning in the Massachusetts city after the gas-related explosions

In the centre of Andover, the fire department responded to 35 fires total — were extinguished. “At the peak, 18 burn at the same time,” said the city’s police.

Local officials said that at least one firefighter and two civilians were wounded in the “gas-related fires.”

The North Andover Police Department advised residents with gas service in their homes or businesses to leave the building until further notice.”

Lawrence fire

— Kevin Sullivan (@ksullboston) September 13, 2018

Some residents were evacuated from their homes to the senior centers and high schools as officials investigated the situation, police said.

Merrimack College, which is located in North Andover, advised that “in an abundance of caution,” students and teachers who are necessary for the evacuation of all buildings on the campus, but later said that all the buildings were safe for re-entry.”

Gov. Charlie Baker’s office said the governor was “actively monitoring the situations in the Merrimack Valley and is the communication with the emergency services and public safety officials.”

The Columbia Gas company announced earlier Thursday that the upgrading of gas pipelines in neighborhoods across the country, including the area where the explosion happened. It was not clear whether there is still a lot of work was Thursday, and a spokeswoman did not immediately comment.

Fox News’ Stephen Sorace and Andrew Fone and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah cover breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

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