What sparked deadly gas explosions, fires in Massachusetts under investigation – National

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LAWRENCE, Mass. — Investigators have been working Friday to pinpoint the reason for a sequence of dramatic pure gasoline explosions that killed a young person, injured a minimum of 25 others and left dozens of properties in smoldering ruins.


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1 dead, at least 10 injured after dozens of fires, gas explosions erupt across Massachusetts

Authorities stated an estimated eight,000 folks have been displaced on the peak of Thursday’s post-explosion chaos in three cities north of Boston that have been rocked by the catastrophe.

The Nationwide Transportation Security Board despatched a crew to assist examine, saying pipelines are inside its jurisdiction.

The rapid-fire sequence of gasoline explosions that one official described as “Armageddon” ignited fires in 60 to 80 properties in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, forcing whole neighborhoods to evacuate as crews scrambled to combat the flames and shut off the gasoline and electrical energy. Fuel remained shut off Friday in a lot of the space, and the streets have been eerily abandoned.

WATCH: A number of folks injured after gasoline leak results in fires and explosions in neighborhoods north of Boston





Authorities stated Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney toppled by an exploding home crashed into his automobile. He was rushed to a Boston hospital and pronounced lifeless there Thursday night.

gasoline explosions Massachusetts State Police urged all residents with properties serviced by Columbia Fuel within the three communities to evacuate, snarling visitors and inflicting widespread confusion as residents and native officers struggled to grasp what was occurring. Some 400 folks spent the night time in shelters, and college was canceled Friday as households waited to return to their properties.


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John Fluegge, 58, stated he got here dwelling Thursday to discover a word on the door of his condominium constructing saying everybody needed to depart. A police officer directed him to North Andover’s highschool, the place he slept on a cot.

Fuegge referred to as the state of affairs “complicated greater than horrifying.”


“You don’t know if your home goes to go up or your condominium,” he stated. “It occurred hastily, nobody knew the way it began and the whole lot.” His condominium was not broken however he has nonetheless not been allowed to return as a result of there isn’t a energy.

Gov. Charlie Baker stated state and native authorities have been investigating however that it may take days or even weeks earlier than they flip up solutions, acknowledging the “large inconvenience” for these displaced by the explosions. He stated tons of of gasoline technicians have been going home to accommodate to make sure every was protected.

The three communities home greater than 146,000 residents about 26 miles (40 kilometers) north of Boston, close to the New Hampshire border. Lawrence, the biggest of them, is a majority Latino metropolis with a inhabitants of about 80,000.


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Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera reassured immigrants who won’t be residing in his metropolis legally that they’d nothing to concern.

“Don’t be afraid. Keep within the gentle. We are going to help you and your loved ones,” Rivera stated at a information convention Friday, talking in English and Spanish. “Lawrence is one group.”

Authorities stated all the fires had been extinguished in a single day and the state of affairs was stabilizing.

Hours earlier, Andover Fireplace Chief Michael Mansfield described a starkly totally different state of affairs.

WATCH: Properties in items, particles strewn throughout vehicles after explosions rock Massachusetts cities





“It seemed like Armageddon, it actually did,” he advised reporters. “There have been billows of smoke coming from Lawrence behind me. I may see pillars of smoke in entrance of me from the city of Andover.”

The Massachusetts Emergency Administration Company blamed the fires on gasoline traces that had turn out to be over-pressurized however stated investigators have been nonetheless inspecting what occurred.

Columbia had introduced earlier Thursday that it could be upgrading gasoline traces in neighborhoods throughout the state, together with the realm the place the explosions occurred. It was not clear whether or not work was occurring there Thursday, and a spokeswoman didn’t return calls in search of remark.

Aerial footage of the realm confirmed some properties that seemed to be torn aside by blasts.

WATCH: ‘I don’t know if my home goes to explode too’: Massachusetts evacuee after fires and explosions





Joseph Solomon, the police chief in close by Methuen, stated 20 to 25 properties have been on hearth in Lawrence when he responded to assist. He stated there are such a lot of fires “you’ll be able to’t even see the sky.”

Fuel explosions have claimed lives and destroyed property across the U.S. in recent times:

— In 2016, a buildup of pure gasoline triggered an explosion and hearth that killed seven folks in flats in Silver Spring, Maryland.

— In 2014, a gasoline explosion in New York Metropolis’s East Harlem neighborhood killed eight folks and injured about 50. Consolidated Edison later agreed to pay $153 million to settle costs after the state’s Public Service Fee discovered it had violated state security rules. A gasoline leak had been reported earlier than that blast.

— A 2011 pure gasoline explosion killed 5 folks in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and that state’s largest gasoline utility was fined by regulators, who referred to as the corporate’s security report “downright alarming.”

— In September 2010, a Pacific Fuel and Electrical gasoline pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, killing eight folks and destroying 38 properties.

— Related Press writers Philip Marcelo in Lawrence, Alanna Durkin Richer and Collin Binkley in Boston and Mary Schwalm in North Andover contributed to this report.

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