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Investor favorite NiSource faces questions after MA explosions

15 September, 2018, 01:02 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Teenager killed as 'gas explosions' set homes ablaze

The 18-year-old man, named Leonel Rondon, was inside a auto in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when a chimney fell on the vehicle, said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman with the Essex County District Attorney's office, reported CNN.

Several people have reportedly been hospitalized, some in critical condition, because of the fires.

Massachusetts State Police said they have responded to 39 fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover - and authorities expected that number to rise.

Fire investigators suspect "over-pressurization of a gas main" led to the series of blasts and fires, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said at a news conference.

Before evacuating from North Andover, Jeremy Melvin described a chaotic scene near the plumbing shop where he works.

Also in Lawrence, a boiler inside Ra Nam's house caught fire, he told CNN affiliate WCVB. Minutes later, Nam said he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house and the ground shook.

Officials in the three municipalities were allowing people back into certain areas, often street by street.

Andover Fire-Rescue sent a 10-alarm response, the highest level. The cities are north of Boston.

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

State officials told residents who have gas service from Columbia Gas of MA to evacuate their homes immediately and said gas lines were being depressurized by the company.

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

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

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he is in contact with first responders and is actively monitoring the situation.

The State Police Fusion Center said the gas explosions and reports were "spread across a wide swath" of South Lawrence, North Andover and in North Lawrence. The supply cuts were affecting about 18,000 customers as of 7 a.m., National Grid said on its website.

Some 8,000 people in Boston's suburbs had little hope of returning home soon as investigators scrambled on Friday to find out the cause of dozens of gas explosions that destroyed scores of homes in the biggest such accident in almost a decade.

It was not immediately clear whether those injured were different from the four victims with fire-related injuries taken to Lawrence General Hospital. Passengers on three were being moved by bus.

The newspaper reported that some neighborhoods were being evacuated. Many residents spent Thursday night in shelters, and schools and state offices in all three municipalities were closed Friday.

Massachusetts State Police say troopers have been dispatched to the areas as panicked residents attempt to flee their neighbourhoods amid the afternoon rush hour.

Residence halls and academic buildings at Merrimack College were evacuated, according to Jim Chiavelli, chief of staff for the college president.

Early Friday, the utility issued a statement saying its crews need to visit each of the 8,600 affected customers to shut off each gas meter and conduct a safety inspection.

Nearly 18,000 customers had been left without power because of the emergency switch-offs, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said it was dispatching a team to support the state's emergency response efforts, an agency spokesperson said on Thursday.

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