Authorities Respond to Numerous Gas Explosions, Fires in Northern Massachusetts

Nearly 40 fires and explosions erupt in Massachusetts

A company spokeswoman did not immediately provide comment.

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

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he urged Columbia Gas to develop a "comprehensive safety inspection plan". About 400 people spent Thursday night in emergency shelters, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

"People need to get out of this area safely", he said at the time.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.

The outlet also reported a handful of basement fires within Andover, hearing on the police scanner that evacuations were underway.

State Police's Air 5 helicopter was hovering over Lawrence, providing firefighters with aerial support, around 11 p.m. when the gas leak was detected, State Police said in a statement.

In neighbouring North Andover, town Selectman Phil Decologero said that his entire neighbourhood had gathered in the street, afraid to enter homes.

"You can't even see the sky", Solomon said. Some of those who were forced to flee quickly as darkness fell Thursday attempted to return home Friday to grab supplies and belongings.

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

Andover Fire-Rescue sent a 10-alarm response, the highest level.

If authorities don't know what caused this yet, then it seems likely the area won't have gas service again until the cause is determined and the problem is corrected.

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In April, Columbia Gas filed a petition with the state's Department of Public Utilities to increase annual revenues by $24.1 million in part to help the company replace aging infrastructure.

State police put the tally of fires and explosions at 70, up from the 39 initially reported. Fire and utility crews were still going door to door on Friday to conduct safety checks and shut off gas meters, officials said.

A team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board was to head to the scene Friday morning, the federal agency tweeted.

One incident may have been prevented by a State Police helicopter crew.

State officials told residents who have gas service from Columbia Gas of MA to evacuate their homes immediately and said gas lines were being depressurized by the company.

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". "Safety is our top priority", it said.

"Our thoughts are with the community and everyone impacted by yesterday's tragic incident. Multiple fires. There's smoke lining from one end of my vision to the other", Melvin told WBUR's Lynn Jolicoeur. "It's very bad for the people affected, but a pretty small impact in terms of the gas market".

The three communities house more than 146,000 residents about 26 miles (40 kilometers) north of Boston, near the New Hampshire border. The club owner and the gas company eventually settled the case.

"Whatever the demand is tonight, the communities will meet those needs", he said.

"This has been obviously an incredibly hard day", Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a news conference early on Friday. He declared a state of emergency for the affected area so the state could take over recovery efforts.

"There's a lot more work that's left to be done", Gov. Baker said.

Guilia Holland, a 35-year-old mechanic in a wheelchair, said she had just gotten off a bus returning home when she saw "a big flash of light" at the house where she had been renting a room for a month.

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