Massachusetts Residents Told to Stay Away coming from Homes After Gas Explosions in addition to Fires
LAWRENCE, Mass. — As state in addition to federal investigators began sifting through damage across three Massachusetts towns, thousands of residents were told not to return to their homes on Friday morning after a sudden series of gas explosions in addition to fires of which ripped through the region the night before.
The numbers were overwhelming: 8,500 homes or businesses had been affected by an overpressurized gas line in addition to many of them needed to remain empty for at of which point, the authorities said. As many as 80 buildings had been burned. Some 150 emergency calls had come in coming from stunned residents reporting the smell of gas, a blaze or a blast of some sort, in addition to 400 people had wound up sleeping in a few shelters of which were hastily opened overnight.
The chain of incidents in Lawrence, Andover in addition to North Andover, north of Boston, left one person dead in addition to more than 20 injured.
Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management, said the exact cause of the disaster can be still unknown, nevertheless officials were focused on the possibility of which natural gas had become overpressurized along thousands of lines to homes in addition to businesses.
“All we can say at of which point can be of which the investigation can be in its very preliminary stages,” he said.
Residents were increasingly frustrated as they sought answers coming from a local gas company, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, nevertheless the company was saying little. On Thursday night, the company had issued a short statement: “Columbia Gas crews are currently responding to reports of multiple fires in Lawrence. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by today’s incident.”
Earlier Thursday, Columbia Gas had announced of which of which was upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods across the state.
By Friday morning, teams of gas workers, firefighters in addition to police were going door to door, shutting off gas in south Lawrence, a densely populated area where many Spanish-speaking immigrants live.
At a news conference, the mayor of Lawrence, Dan Rivera, instructed residents in both English in addition to Spanish to stay away coming from the area until further notice in addition to assured undocumented residents of which they had nothing to fear at shelters of which the city has set up.
“We don’t want folks coming back to an apartment of which has not been cleared in addition to have an issue with gas exposure,” he said.
[Dozens of homes burn in Andover in addition to Lawrence, Mass., gas explosions.]
The investigation into the cause can be being conducted by the federal Pipeline in addition to Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, who arrived in Massachusetts overnight, along with investigators coming from the National Transportation Safety Board.
Since 1998, at least 646 serious gas distribution incidents have occurred, causing 221 deaths in addition to nearly a thousand people injured, according to data coming from the Pipeline in addition to Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Massachusetts has not suffered a serious incident since 2012, the data shows.
Katharine Seelye reported coming from Lawrence, Mass., in addition to Farah Stockman coming from Cambridge, Mass.