'It looked like Armageddon:' Deadly gas blasts destroy homes

US At least 70 fires blasts reported in three towns of Boston mass evacuations under way

Investigators suspected "over-pressurization of a gas main" belonging to Columbia Gas of MA led to the series of explosions and fires, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said on Thursday.

The gas firm's parent company Indiana-based NiSource said its thoughts were with those affected by the incident.

"It looked like Armageddon, it really did", Andover Fire Rescue Chief Michael B. Mansfield said.

Mr Baker said that he told the utility company it must bring in additional resources and develop a comprehensive safety plan for each of the communities. The streets were darkened after utility crews cut off electricity and began shutting down gas service to the area to prevent further blasts.

At least one person was killed in the explosions and several injured.

Neighborhoods were evacuated in northern Massachusetts Thursday following a series of explosions and fires apparently caused by a faulty gas line.

Lawrence General Hospital received six patients, two of whom were in critical condition, according to spokeswoman Jill Halsey.

"Good thing I wasn't home or I wouldn't be talking about it", she said outside an elementary school in Lawrence that the Red Cross had converted into a shelter for about 170 people. It was not immediately clear if any of those being treated at that hospital were from Andover.

An 18-year-old man died when a chimney fell on his vehicle, and another 10 people were injured in the fires and explosions, which affected the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover on Thursday afternoon.

Explosions set structures on fire across dozens of blocks and forced evacuations in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, Massachusetts State Police said.

A house burns in Lawrence, Mass., Sept. 13, 2018.

Andover officials said they extinguished all 35 fires in their town after authorities struck a 10-alarm response, its maximum traditional fire response. There were at least 70 responses to fire, explosions and gas odor reports.

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Authorities said an estimated 8,000 people were displaced at the height of Thursday's post-explosion chaos in three towns north of Boston rocked by the disaster. "There were billows of smoke coming from Lawrence behind me".

A man whose neighbourhood was among dozens that erupted in fire says he ran into his basement to find that the room was glowing. Minutes later, Nam said he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house and the ground shook.

"I couldn't imagine if that was my house", he said.

It was unclear how numerous fires and explosions were in homes or other locations.

Officials have identified the victim as Leonel Rondon, of Lawrence.

State Police troopers and local police are helping evacuate residents.

State Police say Columbia Gas crews are working to depressurize gas lines in the area.

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. Not all gas had been shut off by Thursday evening and some of the lines were overpressurized, officials said.

Andover Police sent out an automated phone call telling residents to evacuate their homes and turn off the gas, and North Andover Police told residents and businesses with gas service to exit their buildings until further notice.

"Gas lines are now being depressurized", police tweeted, adding that "it will take some time".

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

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