The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate, saying pipelines are within its jurisdiction. Anyone in those towns who has gas service from Columbia Gas should leave their homes until further notice.
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. He was rushed to a Boston hospital but pronounced dead Thursday evening. "It's insane how this happened", said a friend, Cassandra Carrion.
Soon after 7pm, officials said all fires in the town had been extinguished.
Massachusetts State Police said they have responded to 39 fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover - and authorities expected that number to rise.
Shelters were later set up in schools, churches and other properties while roads leading into the areas affected were closed.
Columbia Gas was sued in 2014 after a strip club was destroyed in a natural gas explosion. The first explosion was triggered by an overpressurized gas line, WBZ News reported. Ten people were confirmed injured.
Since 2010, there have been 27 major incidents, 10 of which involved Columbia Gas - the most of any one utility company. He said residents detecting odd odors should leave their homes. Red Cross reception centers were setup at the Andover Senior Center and Youth Center, North Andover High School, as well as Parthum and Arlington Schools in Lawrence.
Fuegge, 58, called the situation "confusing more than frightening". "We will support you and your family", Rivera said at a news conference Friday, speaking in English and Spanish.
At least one person has been killed and many others injured after a series of reported gas explosions rocked towns north of Boston in MA. Lawrence, the largest, is a majority Latino city with a population of about 80,000.
"Do not be afraid". Stay in the light.
"What we know is that there have been multiple explosions, multiple fires that are happening across the city", Rivera told WBZ-TV.
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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he is in contact with first responders and is actively monitoring the situation.
Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield described the harrowing scene as, "Armageddon".
"Cases range from smoke inhalation to traumatic blast injuries", the hospital said, adding that one patient had been taken to another hospital. "I could see pillars of smoke in front of me from the town of Andover".
In a release dated Thursday the company had said it would "be upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods across the state". It was not clear whether work was happening there Thursday, and a spokeswoman did not immediately comment.
Aerial footage of the area showed some homes that appeared to be torn apart by blasts. More than 50 fire vehicles and 10 ambulances responded. Solomon told reporters there were so many fires "you can't even see the sky".
In one neighbourhood of the affected area, police, firefighters and utility crews were going door-to-door, checking to make sure it was safe for residents to return home.
Scores of homes have been damaged in the inferno. On Thursday, she had come home to a hissing sound in her basement and a strong odor of natural gas.
"I couldn't imagine if that was my house", he said.
"The truth of the matter is we really don't have any factual information at this point to confirm", Sumwalt said on Friday.
State police received between 60 and 100 reports of fires and gas explosions in the Merrimack region. Baker said he was using an emergency authority to put a different local utility, Eversource Energy (ES.N), in charge of the local response.
- In September 2010, a Pacific Gas and Electric gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes.
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