One person died, several were injured and scores of MA residents were forced to evacuate their homes as dozens of fires raged following a series of gas explosions in three communities north of Boston.
Lawrence resident Ra Nam says he was in his yard when the smoke detector in his basement went off around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
First-responders continued to fight at least 50 fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
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.
"It was very scary", Williams told Reuters by telephone, describing smoke visible to her on the skyline. "There will be plenty of time later tonight, tomorrow morning and into the next day to do some of the work around determining exactly what happened and why".
"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.
Confirmed fires/explosions plotted on map by MSP Watch Center.
The Eagle-Tribune newspaper in North Andover reports at least one home has been destroyed and several others have caught fire amid a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.
According to the Methuen police chief, Joseph Solomon, 60 to 100 fires were burning across the area and several people were injured.
The victim, Leonel Robson of Lawrence, died after being rushed to hospital in Boston when a chimney from an exploding house crashed onto his auto on Thursday.
Lawrence city councilor Marc Leplante told the Guardian: "It's just wall to wall fire trucks from all over, and rows of ambulances and command trucks".
Fire burns in a home destroyed in a gas explosion in Lawrence, Mass., Thursday.
Rivera chided anyone who has gas in south Lawrence who plans on remaining home. "We will support you and your family", Rivera said at a news conference Friday, speaking in English and Spanish. "If you stay at your home, you're gonna be at risk. We're going to get through this together".
The explosions and emergency response caused Amtrak to cancel four train routes between Boston and Maine.
Officers warned Columbia Gas customers in the area to evacuate their homes immediately while the company "despressurises" lines, which it expects will take some time. He added that at least 12 houses were affected. However, a lot of those resources were diverted by concurrent 10-alarm situations in Lawrence and North Andover. One of his toy poodles began barking shortly after.
"People need to get out of this area safely, and it's really hard because the traffic right now is horrendous", he said. "NPU's track record of helping those in need - whenever and wherever we can - is a source of great pride for the men and women of our organization".
They ran around the corner, and there he saw a home, two away from his own, engulfed in flames. "What we need folks to do is that if it's happening in your home, you have a amusing smell, just evacuate, come out to the street".
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, he said, serves a residential/commercial (res/com) load "in a fairly small area around Lawrence, MA".