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Boston gas explosions: Panicked neighbourhoods evacuate

Boston gas explosions: Panicked neighbourhoods evacuate

"The truth of the matter is we really don't have any factual information at this point to confirm", Sumwalt said on Friday.

Eighteen-year-old Leonel Rondon died when his vehicle was crushed by a falling chimney, a spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney's office said. He was rushed to a Boston hospital and pronounced dead there Thursday evening. If you have power and smell gas, do not turn any electric appliances on or off. Refrain from using your home phone, cell phone or a flashlight if you smell gas.

"This has been an overwhelming event", Mansfield told reporters, saying that fire companies responding to blazes were putting one house fire out only to discover another house on fire as they finished their work.

Officials say an issue with a high pressure gas main has affected Lawrence, North Andover and Andover.

"Good thing I wasn't home or I wouldn't be talking about it", she said outside an elementary school in Lawrence that the Red Cross had converted into a shelter for about 170 people.

People cover their faces to protect themselves from heavy smoke.

"Once the utilities secure the affected areas we'll work with the federal government to investigate how this occurred and who should be held accountable for the results and actions", Baker said.

Andover Police Department Lieutenant Eddie Guy told NBC's Today television show Friday morning that officials believe the blasts were caused by over-pressurized gas lines.

Not all of the fires have been fully extinguished yet, Mayor Dan Rivera said at a 00:30 local (04:30 GMT) press conference.

On its website, Columbia Gas had posted a note to MA customers that it was upgrading natural gas lines "in neighborhoods across the state" to enhance safety and reliability.

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

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"The administration urges residents to heed instructions from local officials for important public safety announcements, including evacuations and suspending gas usage", Baker said in a statement.

Authorities late Friday had not said when residents would be allowed to return to their homes. "It's total destruction. I'd be completely devastated".

A man whose neighborhood was among dozens that erupted in fire in communities north of Boston says he ran into his basement to find that the room was glowing.

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

Entire neighborhoods were being evacuated in Lawrence. He said a woman and two kids had made it out of the house but the basement was on fire.

Lawrence General Hospital announced this afternoon that one patient remains in serious condition from Thursday's gas explosion and fires.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume the roof of a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. He said there are so many fires "you can't even see the sky".

At 7:25 p.m., state police had tallied 70 responses to fires, explosions or investigations of gas odor in the three communities. Lawrence, the largest of them, is a majority Latino city with a population of about 80,000.

Flames rise from a house after a series of gas explosions in the city. Consolidated Edison later agreed to pay $153 million to settle charges after the state's Public Service Commission found it had violated state safety regulations.

No additional gas-related emergencies had been reported on Friday. A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return calls.

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