Series of explosions ignites more than 70 homes in MA

Teenager killed as 'gas explosions' set homes ablaze

One person was killed when a chimney from an exploding house landed on his vehicle. It crashed into a nearby auto, fatally wounding a teenager who was inside.

Rondon only recently got his driver's license and was sitting in the vehicle with two pals, loved ones told WHDH.

Authorities said nothing to indicate any foul play was suspected.

The incident forced National Grid to cut power to all three communities, leaving an estimated 18,000 people in the dark. Andover officials said a firefighter was among the injured. "I've never seen anything like this".

A gas explosion destroyed this home in Lawrence, Sept. 13, 2018.

A series of gas explosions caused fires at more than 20 homes across three communities north of Boston on Thursday, forcing entire neighborhoods to evacuate as crews scramble to douse the flames and shut off gas and electric lines in an attempt to prevent further damage.

And home after home is now gone, ripped apart by explosions or flames.

Schools will be closed Friday in Lawrence and Andover.

The investigation will include a look at the pipeline design, maintenance or upgrades that have been completed, the integrity management system, and the system safety program.

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"I can't think of a series of natural gas-related incidents like this", McCown, who led PHMSA under then-President George W. Bush, told Reuters by telephone.

"Our mission is to find out what happened, so that we can learn from it and keep it from happening again", he said.

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

Massachusetts State Police say gas lines are now being depressurized by the company.

Early in the evening, Columbia Gas customers were urged to turn off the gas service to their homes. (Mary Schwalm/AP) Michael Smolak, of Smolak Farms in North Andover, delivers a bag of baked goods to the emergency shelter set up at North Andover High School on Friday.

Gas service had been interrupted for 250 customers in Lawrence last month due to a line hit by a third party, according to the company.

A buildup of natural gas triggered an explosion and fire that killed seven people in apartments in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2016.

Gov. Charlie Baker said, "The depressurization of the lines in the shutdown was created to ensure that there would be no more fires this evening", although he added firefighters will continue to extinguish fires throughout the night. "Once that's complete, we will work with federal government and others to investigate how this occurred and hold the appropriate parties accountable for their actions". Lawrence resident Ra Nam said he was in his yard when the smoke detector in his basement went off.

Teams consisting of gas technicians, fire and police personnel were going door-to-door to make sure the gas is shut off to about 8,600 meters. All of those fires have been extinguished, but at peak, 18 fires were burning at the same time.

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