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Dozens of Explosions and Fires in Lawrence, Mass., USA

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Authorities were responding to dozens of fires and explosions that are being blamed on a gas issue across the Merrimack Valley Thursday afternoon.

Andover town officials are asking everyone in homes and businesses to evacuate.




Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera estimated there are between 20 and 25 fires across the city.

"If people smell gas, or see fire in/around home, evacuate," the mayor said. 


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LAWRENCE, Mass. — Violent explosions and billowing fires tore through three towns north of Boston late Thursday afternoon, damaging dozens of houses, forcing thousands of stunned residents to evacuate and plunging much of the region into an eerie darkness.

One person was killed and more than 20 were injured in the sudden string of explosions caused by gas leaks in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover as blackish-gray clouds of smoke rolled across rooftops and flames shot into the sky.

Leonel Rondon, 18, was killed while he sat in a car in the driveway of a home in Lawrence, the authorities said. A chimney fell onto the car, they said, when the home, on Chickering Road, exploded.


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It looked like Armageddon, it really did,” Michael Mansfield, the fire chief of Andover, who has worked as a firefighter for almost four decades, told a CBS station in Boston. “There were billows of smoke coming from Lawrence behind me. I could see plumes of smoke in front of me from the town of Andover. It looked like an absolute war zone.”

The string of explosions, fires and reports of gas odor — at least 70 of them, although officials were still trying to account for all of the damage late Thursday — came suddenly, beginning shortly before 5 p.m., without warning and without an immediate explanation from officials.

On the TV news tonight, it said there were between 80 to 100 explosions and fires.merlin_143694387_a31cacc1-a147-4408-9875-365edf02e8ef-articleLarge.jpg.e717c7ebbfd605dcabb569f637bb3a63.jpg


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The gas company had notified everyone they would be doing upgrades...

The easy assumption is that someone didn't follow the procedure when they reactivated the gas service at the end of the day and a pressure regulator was bypassed  or failed. I know that we had high pressure gas of 300 PSI coming to the refinery and we stepped it down through a series of pressure regulators. If a regulator failed it would over pressure the low system piping and vent through the gas meter relief valves...

Improving natural gas service across Massachusetts

Sep 13, 2018

We’ll be upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods across the state. This work will lead to long-term benefits for you including:

  • Enhanced safety features
  • Reliability of service for years to come
  • Less future maintenance work in your neighborhood
  • System support for amenities like fire pits, outdoor grills, pool heaters

Weather permitting, work will take place Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with temporary lane restrictions possible during working hours. Project schedules are subject to change.

For your safety, your gas service will be off during the installation. We may relocate the gas meter to an appropriate place outside – at no additional cost to you. Once our work is completed, we’ll conduct a natural gas safety inspection outside and inside your home or business. After a successful inspection, we’ll relight your appliances.

Edited by Tortuga
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Imagine innocently sitting in your car and bam...your dead. ☹️ 




LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) - Investigators worked Friday to pinpoint the cause of a series of dramatic natural gas explosions that killed a teenager who had just gotten his driver's license and was sitting in his car, injured at least 25 others and left dozens of homes in smoldering ruins.

Authorities said an estimated 8,000 people were displaced at the height of Thursday's post-explosion chaos in three towns north of Boston that were rocked by the disaster. Most were still waiting, shaken and exhausted, to be able to return to their homes.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to help investigate, saying pipelines are within its jurisdiction.

The rapid-fire series of gas explosions that one official described as "Armageddon" ignited fires in 60 to 80 homes in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, forcing entire neighborhoods to evacuate as crews scrambled to fight the flames and shut off the gas and electricity. Gas remained shut off Friday in most of the area, and the streets were eerily deserted.


Authorities said Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney toppled by an exploding house crashed into his car. He was rushed to a Boston hospital and pronounced dead there Thursday evening.


Rondon, a musician who went by the name DJ Blaze, had just gotten his driver's license, grieving friends and relatives told The Boston Globe. "It's crazy how this happened," said a friend, Cassandra Carrion.

Massachusetts State Police urged all residents with homes serviced by Columbia Gas in the three communities to evacuate, snarling traffic and causing widespread confusion as residents and local officials struggled to understand what was happening. Some 400 people spent the night in shelters, and school was canceled Friday as families waited to return to their homes.

John Fluegge said he came home Thursday to find a note on the door of his apartment building saying everyone had to leave. A police officer directed him to North Andover's high school, where he slept on a cot.

Fuegge, 58, called the situation "confusing more than frightening."

"You don't know if your house is going to go up or your apartment," he said. "It happened all of a sudden, no one knew how it started and everything." His apartment was not damaged but he has still not been allowed to return because there is no power.

Gov. Charlie Baker said state and local authorities were investigating but that it could take days or weeks before they turn up answers, acknowledging the "massive inconvenience" for those displaced by the explosions. He said hundreds of gas technicians were going house to house to ensure each was safe.


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