Leonel Rondon, an 18-year-old Lawrence resident, died after a house explosion sent a chimney crashing into his vehicle, the Associated Press reported. Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to the Boston Globe.
At least three people, including one firefighter, were hurt in Andover, the town said in a statement, but it was unclear whether any of those individuals were among the patients treated in Lawrence, some of whom were later released. "I have been in the fire service for nearly 39 years and I have never seen anything like this in my entire career".
Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday afternoon declared a state of emergency and authorized the chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to authorize Eversource to take management control over the coordinated effort "to safely restore utility services in South Lawrence, Andover and North Andover".
"This is still very much an active scene", he said. However, it was not immediately known whether any work was being done in those communities at the time. The fire crews were from as far away as Foxborough and Oxford in central MA.
- Investigators worked Friday to pinpoint the cause of a series of fiery natural gas explosions that killed a teen driver in his auto just hours after he got his license, injured at least 25 others and left dozens of homes in smoldering ruins.
Not all gas had been shut off by Thursday evening and some of the lines were overpressurized, officials said.
Its parent company said Columbia Gas crews were performing safety checks, but did not explain what went wrong. Gas service was being shut off to the affected areas and gas lines were being depressurized.
Lawrence mayor Dan Rivera said "over-pressured gas valves", caused the explosions. A middle school in North Andover and a senior center in Andover were set up for evacuees, according to the state police. Razin said he arrived just as residents were being evacuated, and immediately saw the house two doors down was levelled from an explosion.
"I couldn't imagine if that was my house", he said. "It's total destruction. I'd be completely devastated".
"There could be still a gas leak in your home", Rivera said.
Firefighters battle a large structure fire after residents fled in panic.
Gas technicians and first responders were going door-to-door reviewing thousands of homes in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover and shutting down gas mains as residents wait in shelters.
A man whose neighbourhood was among dozens that erupted in fire says he ran into his basement to find that the room was glowing.
Lawrence resident Ra Nam told CNN affiliate WCVB that a boiler in his house caught fire.
State police now puts the tally of fires and explosions at 70, up from the 39 initially reported, with the number expected to grow.
"Senators Markey and Warren are asking to hear from regulators and the distribution company Columbia Gas to understand how this incident occurred and what must be done to ensure these types of unsafe accidents do not happen again", according to a joint news release. It was not clear whether work was happening there, and a spokeswoman did not return calls.