Series of explosions ignites more than 70 homes in MA

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"We have had similar issues on a much smaller scale".

The incident, in an area that's home to the famous Phillips Academy Andover whose alumni include George W. Bush and Humphrey Bogart, took place just as Hurricane Florence slammed the coast of the Carolinas farther south on the East Coast, threatening to leave 3 million homes and businesses without power. "We determined that in fact we have the authority to do it and we're going to do it".

Gas explosions have claimed lives and destroyed property around the U.S.in recent years.

The Mayor of Lawrence, Massachusetts, has said the explosions were caused by "over-pressured gas valves".

On Friday, hundreds of technicians fanned out across MA communities, going from house to house to check whether each was safe to return to. "We will support you". As long as it takes.

Fire and smoke billowing out of a home in Boston, in the USA state of MA.

State police say a joint investigation will be conducted when the situation is stabilized.

"We'll work with the federal government and others to investigate how this occurred and hold the appropriate parties accountable for their actions", Baker said.

Teams of firefighters, police, and gas company workers were out in force overnight, shutting off gas to the 8,000 impacted homes.

A buildup of natural gas triggered an explosion and fire that killed seven people in apartments in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2016. "There's oftentimes a tendency, when there are accidents like this, for a company to huddle down, to try to protect their shareholders when their one goal should be just to protect the people who they are serving".

Neighbouring Police Chief Joseph Solomon, who came in to assist from the town of Methuen, said there were so many fires burning at one point that you couldn't see the sky.

Keefe, and Fire Chief Michael Mansfield report that the Town of Andover is now involved in a major gas-related emergency.

A house is destroyed in Lawrence after a series of gas explosions in the area.

The fatality occured when a chimney collapsed onto a vehicle.

Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney toppled by an exploding house crashed into his vehicle, authorities said.

Authorities said nothing to indicate any foul play was suspected.

He ran downstairs and discovered his boiler on fire - and minutes later, he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house, causing the ground to shake.

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Officials say at least 25 people have been treated for injuries, but it is not clear how severe a condition they are in.

"This has been an overwhelming event", Mansfield said. "I've never seen anything like this".

Officials again stressed that residents allowed back into their homes would still be without power and must not turn their gas back on themselves, but rather call Columbia Gas for an appointment.

One person, an 18-year-old from Lawrence, died and more than 20 others were injured in the blasts and blazes.

Nearly 18,000 customers had been left without power because of the emergency switch-offs, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Authorities are evacuating residents from parts of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Red Cross centers were open to shelter evacuees while Lawrence-area schools were to shutter Friday. All state offices in all three towns will be also closed, and nonemergency employees have been asked to stay home.

LAWRENCE - Some 3,500 homes have already been cleared of unsafe gas leaks, but about 5,000 across Lawrence, Andover and North Andover remain, officials said at a press conference late Friday morning, but officials said the cause of the disaster has not yet been determined.

Sumwalt said his agency would look at "the design of the pipeline system, any maintenance or upgrades being done or in process of being done on the pipeline".

Almost 20 hours after the emergency began, Columbia Gas had still not addressed the public.

"We're donating about 10,000 packages of pita bread, flatbread, different types of bread that we made for families here", he said. The Columbia Gas company had announced earlier that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened.

When it comes to leaks, though, Columbia Gas is doing better than National Grid. Andover, North Andover and Lawrence were included in the planned projects.

Gas service was interrupted for 250 customers in Lawrence last month "due to hit line by a third party", according to Columbia Gas.

Crews work to knock down a fire in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on Thursday.

"At this time, the focus remains on ensuring the public safety", Baker said.

Amtrak has cancelled trains from Boston to Portland, Maine and is bussing passengers.

Columbia Gas said in its statement: "What happened in the Merrimack Valley [Thursday] was a tragic incident".

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