At least 1 killed, over 10 injured after gas explosions near Boston
Explosions triggered by natural gas leaks hit three towns near Boston on Thursday evening, killing at least one person and injuring more than 10 others, local police and hospital officials said.
Leonel Rondon, aged 18, was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital about 8:30 p.m. local time (0030 GMT on Friday), the Essex District Attorney's Office said.
Local media said he was killed when a chimney from a house explosion fell onto a car he was sitting in.
Lawrence General Hospital said on Twitter that at this hour, the hospital has received 13 patients as a result of the gas fires, adding that one patient in critical condition was transported to a Boston trauma center.
Firefighters battle a house fire, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, on Herrick Road in North Andover, Mass., one of multiple emergency crews responding to a series of gas explosions and fires triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in several communities north of Boston. [Photo: AP/Mary Schwalm]
"Injuries range from minor to smoke inhalation and blast trauma," the hospital added. Lawrence is about 30 miles (48 kms) north of Boston.
In Andover, town officials said in a statement that at least one firefighter and two civilians have been injured and then treated in hospital.
It is unclear whether the dead and those wounded in Andover are part of the victims receiving treatment at Lawrence General Hospital.
Massachusetts State Police said they were currently responding to 70 fires, explosions, investigations of gas odor.
The fires and explosions "spread over wide swath of south #Lawrence and northern part of #NorthAndover with several others across Merrimack River in north Lawrence," it said via Twitter.
It was too early to speculate on a cause, the police said, ordering the evacuations of all residents in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover who have Columbia Gas.
The police said the power company will shut off power to all of the three communities.
The large scale fire erupted after the pressurized subterranean gas lines reportedly burst, local media said.
Firefighters battle a house fire, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, on Herrick Road in North Andover, Mass., one of multiple emergency crews responding to a series of gas explosions and fires triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in several communities north of Boston. [Photo: Ap/Mary Schwalm]
Lawrence General Hospital said in a statement that it had treated four fire-related victims and was prepared to treat more after activating its emergency management plan.
Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon told media there were so many fires "you can't even see the sky."
He estimated that 20 to 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence, about 30 miles north of Boston.
Firefighters battle blazes in a house in Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA, 13 September 2018. [Photo: IC]