One dead in MA after gas explosions ignite dozens of fires

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2018

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

At least one person was killed and more than 20 were injured in Massachusetts Thursday after a series of gas explosions tore through several communities outside Boston, officials said.

Liberty Utilities spokesperson John Shore said the company has on-call technicians standing ready to help Columbia Gas.

"On a number of very significant issues, we heard one thing, then something else happened".

Gas explosions have claimed lives and destroyed property around the U.S.in recent years.

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. He mentioned difficulties such as getting into people's homes.

"We're donating about 10,000 packages of pita bread, flatbread, different types of bread that we made for families here", he said.

- A 2011 natural gas explosion killed five people in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and that state's largest gas utility was fined by regulators who called the company's safety record "downright alarming".

Eversource did not return messages seeking comment.

The fires were reported across a "wide swath of dozens of blocks across Lawrence and North Andover", the state police said.

State Police say Columbia Gas crews are working to depressurize gas lines in the area.

Twenty to 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence, said Joseph Solomon, the police chief in nearby Methuen. Lawrence resident Ra Nam said he was in his yard when the smoke detector in his basement went off.

Lupa is unlikely to return home soon.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said it appeared the gas lines had become over-pressurised.

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Still, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said that "The least informed, and the last to act, has been Columbia Gas".

Some residents were evacuated from their homes to senior centers and middle schools as officials investigated the situation, police said.

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

Ken Stammen, a NiSource spokesman, said in an email he could not confirm the details cited in the analyst note.

Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were included Thursday morning in an alert from Columbia Gas of MA telling customers on its website that it was "upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods" across the state.

The share-price decline reflects concerns about potentially higher NiSource spending and penalties, said Morningstar analyst Charles Fishman. We are focused on providing as much support as possible to our customers, residents and communities.

Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston.

The 18-year-old man, named Leonel Rondon, was inside a auto in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when a chimney fell on the vehicle, said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman with the Essex County District Attorney's office, reported CNN.

Lawrence General Hospital said it was treating 10 patients injured in the gas explosions, one in critical condition and another in serious condition.

Rivera urged residents to stay away from their homes.

"There could still be a gas leak in your home", he said. "And God forbid you go to sleep and not wake up tomorrow".

The incident is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Fire Marshal's Office and the National Transportation Safety Board, local media report.

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

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