Natural Gas Explosions Rock Three Western Massachusetts Towns

15 September, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Nearly 40 fires and explosions erupt in Massachusetts

Baker previously said authorities hadn't heard directly from Columbia Gas, but later called the company's response "adequate".

Officials urged all residents in the area who are Columbia Gas customers to evacuate, "as should anyone else who smells gas".

Some 8,000 people in Boston's suburbs had little hope of returning home soon as investigators scrambled on Friday to find out the cause of dozens of gas explosions that destroyed scores of homes in the biggest such accident in almost a decade. Lawrence General Hospital reported that of 10 people that had been taken to the facility, one patient is in critical and one in serious condition.

At least three people have been injured in Andover, including one firefighter and two civilians, town officials said in a statement.

The cause wasn't immediately clear.

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.

Streets were plunged into darkness as electricity lines were disabled to prevent further damage. Initially, officials had said three people were injured.

Boston: A man was killed while several others were injured after a series of explosions and fires rocked around 40 homes and businesses in three towns in MA on Thursday, according to the Essex County District Attorney's office.

Officials in Andover, a town of 35,000 residents had advised all residents and businesses to evacuate and to shut off their gas, if they know how to safely. At peak, 18 fires were burning at the same time.

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A man whose neighbourhood was among those affected said he ran into his basement to find the room was glowing.

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

Crews work to knock down a fire in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on Thursday. Nam said a woman and two kids had made it out of the house but the basement was on fire.

At least four people are being treated for injuries after a series of fires north of Boston that authorities blame on a natural gas issue. Resident Ra Nam says he was in his yard when the smoke detector in his basement went off around 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday.

It was the largest natural gas pipeline accident, in terms of the number of buildings involved, in the United States since 2010, when an interstate natural gas transmission line operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company ruptured in San Bruno, California, destroying 38 buildings, damaging 70 more, and killing eight people, according to a Reuters analysis of incident reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return calls. The three communities, near the New Hampshire border, together have more than 146,000 residents. Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said residents in the southern part of his city had been asked to leave their homes whether or not they were Columbia Gas customers, due to planned power cuts.

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.

In nearby Methuen, which responded to the incidents, Police Chief Joseph Solomon said he thought about 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence.

The State Police Fusion Center said the gas explosions and reports were "spread across a wide swath" of South Lawrence, North Andover and in North Lawrence.

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