Suspected gas explosions hit communities in Massachusetts
Local police chief says 20 to 25 houses on fire in the community near Boston.
At least four people were injured in Massachusetts Thursday evening after the suspected gas explosion” tore through the communities outside of Boston, officials confirmed.
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.
Updated plotting of the confirmed fires and explosions by MSP Watch Center. 39 locations confirmed so far. The number will grow. New responses to the corridor. Reminder: all residents of Lawrence/andover/N Andover that Columbia Gas should evacuate, as should anyone else who smells gas. pic.twitter.com/IwD4phgTfu
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) September 13, 2018
State Police (MSP) confirmed on Twitter that at least 39 locations were affected by “fires and explosions,” but the number “will grow.”
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.
Gas explosión, múltiple houses on fine. This is on Market Street pic.twitter.com/beHML8Sq9j
— julissa (@jliss1979) September 13, 2018
“Numerous evacuations of areas where gas smells are underway,” MSP tweeted. While she added: “much too early to speculate about the cause,” Columbia Gas is working to bleed the gas line, which “will take some time.”
National Grid is the cutting of electricity to the three cities “to reduce spark began to burn.”
On the approach of Lawrence MA, multiple gas fires on the corridor … pic.twitter.com/8JLOLl4Imi
— Bill Sheerin (@AssignGuy) September 13, 2018
Solomon said that in Lawrence alone, there are approximately 20 to 25 homes in a fire. He said: there are so many fires “you can’t even see the sky.”
Soloman said that there was no fire in Methuen, but the city’s emergency officials to send to areas in need.
Burning in the Massachusetts city after the gas-related explosions
The North Andover Police Department advised residents with gas service in their homes or businesses to leave the building until further notice.”
Some residents are evacuated from their homes to the senior centers and high schools as officials investigate the situation, police said. It was not immediately clear whether anyone suffered injuries.
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.”
Lawrence fire pic.twitter.com/7KjebqrNrJ
— K (@ksullboston) September 13, 2018
Gov. Charlie Baker’s office said the governor is “actively monitoring the situations in the Merrimack Valley and is the communication with the emergency services and public safety officials.”
Lawrence police chief Roy Vasque told WFXT it seems as if the explosions were sparked by a gas problem, but MSP tweeted it is still too early to speculate what triggered the fire.
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.
This is a developing story; check back for updates. Fox News’ Andrew Fone and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nicole Darrah cover breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.