Major gas line problem causes 50 EXPLOSIONS in homes outside of Boston

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An 18-year-old man was killed when an explosion caused by a faulty natural gas system knocked the chimney off of the house and onto a car in suburban Boston.

Leonel Rondon was identified as the fatality. He was pronounced dead at Mass General Hospital at around 8:30pm, according to MassLive.com

‘Mr. Rondon was inside a car near 35 Chickering Rd in Lawrence when a chimney from a house explosion fell on the car,’ the Essex County District Attorney’s Office said. 

The explosion was one of several dozen blasts that rocked northeastern Massachusetts on Thursday. 

Bay State officials say there are up to 70 fires burning in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover after problems with the natural gas system.

At least 10 people have been hurt, including one firefighter in Andover. Town officials said two civilians in Andover were also injured. 

In Lawrence, at least four people were said to be undergoing treatment at Lawrence General Hospital, according to WHDH

A woman trapped in her house during the explosion suffered leg injuries.

‘Gas lines are currently being depressurized,’ Massachusetts State Police tweeted, adding that ‘it will take some time.’

An 18-year-old man was killed when an explosion caused by a faulty natural gas system knocked the chimney off of the house and onto a car in the Boston suburb of Lawrence

An 18-year-old man was killed when an explosion caused by a faulty natural gas system knocked the chimney off of the house and onto a car in the Boston suburb of Lawrence

Officials said residents who have gas service with Columbia Gas should leave their homes immediately

Officials said residents who have gas service with Columbia Gas should leave their homes immediately

The fires started Thursday in parts of Massachusetts and are being attributed to problems with the gas system

The fires started Thursday in parts of Massachusetts and are being attributed to problems with the gas system

The fires have destroyed at least 50 homes in the Boston area, according to local media reports 

The fires have destroyed at least 50 homes in the Boston area, according to local media reports 

A building in Lawrence is on fire following multiple gas explosions on Thursday evening. At least four people in the area were hospitalized 

A building in Lawrence is on fire following multiple gas explosions on Thursday evening. At least four people in the area were hospitalized 

A fire engine is seen near a building emitting smoke after explosions in Lawrence, Massachusetts

A fire engine is seen near a building emitting smoke after explosions in Lawrence, Massachusetts

Firefighters battle a fire in a house in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Thursday. Gas in the area has been shut down as crews battle the flames 

Firefighters battle a fire in a house in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Thursday. Gas in the area has been shut down as crews battle the flames 

Firefighters work near a building emitting smoke after explosions in North Andover, Massachusetts on Thursday 

Firefighters work near a building emitting smoke after explosions in North Andover, Massachusetts on Thursday 

A house is destroyed in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Thursday following multiple gas explosions 

A house is destroyed in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Thursday following multiple gas explosions 

‘Numerous evacuations of neighborhoods where there are gas odors are underway,’ police said. 

‘Far too early to speculate on cause. Joint investigation will be conducted when situation is stabilized.’

Authorities were to cut power to thousands of meters, police said, and residents in all three towns with utilities service from Columbia Gas had been asked to evacuate immediately. 

According to The Eagle Tribune, officials have alerted Holy Family Hospital in Methuen to expect multiple admissions.   

The Massachusetts State Police said in a tweet on Thursday that residents in the affected areas who have gas service from Columbia Gas ‘should evacuate their homes immediately if they have not done so’. 

They updated the tweet to say that Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera is asking all residents of South Lawrence to evacuate their homes. 

‘This is addition to evacuation of all Columbia Gas customers in Lawrence/Andover/North Andover,’ state police said. ‘Utility cos shutting off several thousand meters.’  

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said residents in South Lawrence need to evacuate their homes

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said residents in South Lawrence need to evacuate their homes

If residents who don’t have service from Columbia smell gas in their home they are urged to leave. 

‘Gas lines are currently being depressurized by the company it will take some time,’ police said. 

In a follow-up, the state police said that the power company would be shutting off power to all of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover ‘to assist in the gas situation’. 

Rivera said residents in South Lawrence looking for information on the gas and fire incidents should call 211.

Lt. Edward Guy, spokesman for the Andover Police Department, said: ‘There are multiple basement fires in Andover. It’s some kind of gas issue. We urge residents if they are smelling gas to get out of the house and contact 911. We will get units out there.’   

An aerial view of a building in the Boston area on fire after multiple gas explosions on Thursday evening 

An aerial view of a building in the Boston area on fire after multiple gas explosions on Thursday evening 

Officials said gas lines are currently being depressurized but it can take some time 

Officials said gas lines are currently being depressurized but it can take some time 

Firefighters in North Andover battle a house fire on Herrick Road on Thursday 

Firefighters in North Andover battle a house fire on Herrick Road on Thursday 

Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque told The Eagle Tribune that he's 'never seen anything like this'

Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque told The Eagle Tribune that he’s ‘never seen anything like this’

Several firefighters battle a house fire in Lawrence on Thursday after a problem with the gas system caused multiple explosions 

Several firefighters battle a house fire in Lawrence on Thursday after a problem with the gas system caused multiple explosions 

There are reports that multiple have been injured following multiple gas explosions in the Boston area 

There are reports that multiple have been injured following multiple gas explosions in the Boston area 

The Massachusetts State Police released an image of a map showing where the fires are. Officials confirmed there are up to 70 fires burning 

The Massachusetts State Police released an image of a map showing where the fires are. Officials confirmed there are up to 70 fires burning 

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said there are so many fires ‘you can’t even see the sky’. The fires have destroyed at least 50 homes, according to reports.

One home in Lawrence was blown off its foundation,’ according to WCVB. A neighbor told the outlet that multiple people were inside at the time. The neighbor said he saw some of the residents in the home trying to crawl out of the debris.  

At the peak of the explosion, 18 fires were burning in Andover at one time, officials. All the fires in Andover have been extinguished, where a total of 35 fires were reported. 

Residents and business owners in the area were told to stay away until officials confirm that it’s safe for them to return.    

An emergency operations center has been set up at the Public Safety Complex in Andover and an emergency system protocol has been enacted. Residents can also seek shelter at the Andover Senior Center and the Andover Youth Center.

Police officers man a checkpoint as multiple fire trucks from surrounding communities are staged along a road Thursday in Lawrence 

Police officers man a checkpoint as multiple fire trucks from surrounding communities are staged along a road Thursday in Lawrence 

Firefighters gain entrance into a house through a basement window to check the gas line in Lawrence on Thursday 

Firefighters gain entrance into a house through a basement window to check the gas line in Lawrence on Thursday 

A police officer adjusts his mask as he stands in a smoky area of Lawrence on Thursday following multiple explosions 

A police officer adjusts his mask as he stands in a smoky area of Lawrence on Thursday following multiple explosions 

People stand and take videos and pictures on a smoky street in Lawrence, Massachusetts

People stand and take videos and pictures on a smoky street in Lawrence, Massachusetts

Andover High School is also available for those who have been displaced by the fires. The gas at the school has been shut off to ensure there is no explosion.

Officials are using Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority buses as evacuation vehicles. Fire crews will remain in the Massachusetts town throughout the evening.      

The Andover Fire-Rescue Department struck a 10-alarm response, its maximum traditional fire response, to battle the blazes, the Eagle Tribune reports. 

That sent 20 fire engines and 10 fire ladder trucks to the area but some of them were diverted to deal with fires in other areas. 

Fire Chief Michael Mansfield requested additional trucks to respond to Andover through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. An additional 20 engines and ladder trucks were dispatched to the town. 

Ten ambulances were also sent to Andover to transport injured people to the hospital. 

Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque told The Eagle Tribune that he’s ‘never seen anything like this.’

Earlier on Thursday, before the explosions, Columbia Gas said in a news release that it was upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhood across the state. 

The company said the improvements would lead to long-term benefits including enhanced safety features and reliable service.

Work on the upgraded gas lines was expected to begin on Monday and continue until Friday, with gas service shut off during the installation. 

The gas company has not yet commented on Thursday’s explosions. 

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