ibusinesslines.com September 21, 2018

Fires, explosions erupt in multiple USA towns near Boston

15 September 2018, 01:44 | Erica Roy

CJ GUNTHER EPA Shutterstock Firefighters gained entrance into a house through a basement window to check the gas line in Lawrence on Thursday

EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock Firefighters gain entrance into a house through a basement window to check the gas line in Lawrence Massachusetts USA 13 September 2018. A series of reported gas explosions in

Indiana-based NiSource said in a statement: "Our thoughts are with everyone affected by today's incident".

In a statement Friday, Columbia Gas said crew members are working to restore power with the help of other utility companies.

As Shafer was communicating with a Union Leader reporter, she said Massachusetts State Police told her and her parents they needed to evacuate the area.

At least a dozen people have been injured in the explosions and fires.

Local officials said at least one firefighter and two civilians were injured in the "gas-related fires".

Andover and North Andover are updating lists of streets where homes have been inspected and cleared on their websites.

Streets were plunged into darkness as electricity lines were disabled to prevent further damage. All three towns were listed as areas where neighborhood lines would be replaced, the utility said on its website Thursday.

The blasts on Thursday killed one person and left more than a dozen injured in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence - North of Boston - and stranded more than 18,000 homes and businesses without power, according to emergency officials.

Andover Fire-Rescue sent a 10-alarm response, the highest level. "At peak, 18 fires were burning at the same time", they said, adding that all fires have been extinguished and fire crews will remain in the town throughout the evening.

"There are multiple basement fires in Andover".

"I just always thinks its a mistake not to come out and talk to people so that they at least know what you know", Warren said.

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

Thousands of residents were forced from their homes and into the street as city officials implored residents to evacuate the area immediately. He said a woman and two kids had made it out of the house but the basement was on fire.

Gas supply is being switched off but residents have been urged not to use their gas as a precaution. A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return calls.

The town of 35,000 residents is about 26 miles north of Boston near the New Hampshire border.

Columbia Gas issued another press release saying workers are visiting all 8,600 customers affected by Thursday's gas line emergency "to shut off each gas meter and conduct a safety inspection".

State Police say they have confirmed fires at 39 locations but warn the number will grow. More than 50 fire vehicles and 10 ambulances responded.

The company that owns Columbia Gas said its crews are performing safety checks after a series of fires and explosions erupted in three communities north of Boston, but did not explain what went wrong.

MA police say the explosions in the towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover rocked numerous neighbourhoods on Thursday afternoon and evacuations are underway where gas odours were present.

Solomon, who responded to Lawrence to help, said there are so many fires "you can't even see the sky".

Residents in North Andover who were evacuated were told to "expect that the restoration process will take several days - or longer", by the town manager, Andrew Maylor.

State police tweeted to say a gas leak may be behind the blast.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday afternoon declared a state of emergency and authorized the chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to authorize Eversource to take management control over the coordinated effort "to safely restore utility services in South Lawrence, Andover and North Andover".

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