Teenager killed as 'gas explosions' set homes ablaze

15 September, 2018, 01:46 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Nearly 40 fires and explosions erupt in Massachusetts

As seen, incidents are across a wide swath of dozens of blocks across Lawrence and North Andover.

The three communities house more than 146,000 residents and are located about 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Boston.

NiSource spokesman Ken Stammen said Columbia Gas was investigating. "Our thoughts are with everyone affected by today's incident". "We are focussed on providing as much support as possible to our customers, residents and communities", the utility said in a statement. Grateful to all our first responders working to help.

The November 2012 explosion in Springfield, Massachusetts, was caused when a Columbia employee accidentally punctured a gas line while probing for a leak.

"Weather permitting, work will take place Monday through Friday", Columbia Gas said in a statement.

A day after a series of deadly gas-related fires and explosions tore through MA neighborhoods, the governor declared a state of emergency - just as authorities said they had detected a major gas leak under a street that could have led to a "catastrophic" event. Officials rushed to shut off both gas and electricity service to several towns to prevent.

At least 70 buildings north of Boston, Massachusetts have been set ablaze by what appears to be a ruptured gas line.

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

At least 10 people, including a firefighter, were injured by the fires, according to the Associated Press.

Local police reported "fires and explosions" at dozens of homes and other properties on Thursday evening.

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

Hours earlier, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield described a starkly different situation.

"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.

Joseph Solomon, the police chief in nearby Methuen, said 20 to 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence when he responded to help.

He said there were so many fires "you can't even see the sky". One of those patients, who was in critical condition, was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

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Firefighters put out 35 fires in Andover, town officials said.

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

Massachusetts State Police say officers were sent to Lawrence, Andover and North Andover shortly after reports of the first blast at around 5pm (10pm BST).

"Columbia Gas company had announced earlier Thursday that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighborhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened".

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said it would likely take investigators some time to examine the pipeline's design, maintenance and upgrades.

Tactical flight officer and Trooper Eric Fairchild was monitoring the aircraft's forward looking infrared camera "when he observed an anomaly under the pavement at the intersection of Broadway and Andover St". Gas remained shut off on Friday (Saturday NZT) in most of the area, and the streets were eerily deserted. "Safety is our top priority", it said.

But officials warn it could be several days before things are back to normal in the Merrimack Valley towns. "It's bad for the people affected, but a pretty small impact in terms of the gas market".

The company is opening a claims center, Bryant said. Authorities are evacuating residents from parts of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

"We're going to be careful and methodical about restoring service".

"We need Columbia Gas in this effort", Rivera said. NPU said its assistance was to last through the weekend.

In 2014, a gas explosion in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood killed eight people and injured about 50.

Gas lines were being depressurized by the company. "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".

Headquartered in Westborough, MA, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts serves about 320,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Massachusetts, the greater Springfield area and the Merrimack Valley.

Columbia Gas had announced earlier in the day it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across MA, including the area where the explosions happened.

To assist with the recovery, the American Red Cross established shelters in Lawrence and Andover that also accommodate pets.

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