Publicado: Sáb, Setiembre 15, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Explosions and fires rock Boston neighbourhoods

Explosions and fires rock Boston neighbourhoods

Hundreds of people have been evacuated, with gas and electricity services cut to try and prevent further incidents.

More than three dozen homes went up in flames Monday when fires and explosions erupted in northern MA in what were believed to be gas-related incidents, authorities said. Thirteen people were received at Lawrence General Hospital for injuries related to the explosions from smoke inhalation to blast trauma, according to the hospital's Facebook page.

Mayor Daniel Rivera of Lawrence, one of the affected towns, said of the company, "It just seemed like there's no one in charge, like they're in the weeds, and they've never seen this before". It was not immediately clear if any of those were from Andover.

Massachusetts State Police said they had responded to 70 reports of fires, explosions and the smell of gas in a widespread zone encompassing the east coast towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Andover officials issued a statement saying that all 35 fires in the town had been extinguished after as many as 18 were burning consecutively at the peak of the situation.

Columbia Gas posted an online note shortly after the first explosions that read: "Crews are now responding to reports of multiple fires in Lawrence, MA".

Blasts in three towns north of Boston are thought to have been caused by the rupture of an overpressurised gas main.

"It was very scary", Williams said, with smoke visible on the skyline.

He says he quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and put it out.

He ran downstairs and discovered his boiler on fire - and minutes later, he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house, causing the ground to shake.

At the height of the disaster, Michael Rivera, who narrowly escaped a house fire, said his city "looked like a war zone".

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Police said the explosions and fires erupted in a cluster of towns north of Boston. The Columbia Gas company had announced earlier that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened. It was not clear whether work was happening there, and a spokeswoman did not return calls.

Residents of north Boston in MA were asked to evacuate immediately after multiple fires and gas explosions were reported at 39 confirmed locations on Thursday. Fire and utility crews were still going door to door on Friday to conduct safety checks and shut off gas meters, officials said.

State police urged residents served by Columbia Gas to evacuate their homes.

"Gas lines are now being depressurised", police said on Twitter, adding that "it will take some time".

As pressure mounted Friday for gas company officials to provide answers about what happened, Sens.

A series of gas explosions an official described as "Armageddon" killed a teenager, injured at least 10 other people and ignited fires in at least 39 homes in three communities north of Boston, forcing entire neighbourhoods to evacuate as crews scrambled to fight the flames and shut off the gas.

Joseph Solomon, the police chief in nearby Methuen, said 20 to 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence.

Kingston Fire Chief Bill Seaman said he sent six firefighters from his department, but he had more who were willing to go. As seen, incidents are across a wide swath of dozens of blocks across Lawrence and North Andover.

Before gas explosions in MA sent its shares reeling on Friday, utility NiSource Inc (NI.N) was considered a secure play and its top investor was loading up on shares as part of a push into what it called "the safest, most defensive sector in the S&P 500".

The crisis spanned Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, according to The Eagle-Tribune.

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