Quantcast

One Dead, 25 Injured as Gas Explosions Rock Massachusetts Towns

Energy
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire caused by over pressurized gas lines on Sept. 13 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Scott Eisen / Getty Images News / Getty Images

A series of gas explosions Thursday in three towns north of Boston killed one and injured 25, CNN reported Friday.


More than 60 suspected gas fires ignited in the towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover Thursday evening, causing multiple houses to explode.

"This has been an overwhelming event," Andover Fire Rescue Chief Michael B. Mansfield told reporters, according to CNN. "I have been in the fire service for almost 39 years and I have never seen anything like this in my entire career. ... It looked like Armageddon, it really did."

Emergency officials suspected over-pressurized natural gas lines caused the explosions, but no official cause has been stated, CBS reported Friday.

Fires broke out in at least 39 homes.

There was heavy traffic as Massachusetts State Police urged all Columbia Gas customers in the three towns to evacuate.

In total, 8,000 people were unable to return home Thursday night, CNN reported. A middle school in North Andover and a senior center in Andover were set up as temporary shelters.

Columbia Gas estimated that 8,600 meters were impacted and said they would send out technicians to shut off each meter and conduct a safety inspection.

"We expect this will be an extended restoration effort, and we will work tirelessly to restore service to the affected customers," Columbia Gas said in a statement reported by CBS.

The process could take several days or longer, CBS Boston reported.

"Utility technicians must do their jobs in order to make sure everyone has a safe place to return to," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Friday, according to CNN. "This will not be an easy process and we ask for continued patience."

Baker said that a thorough investigation would take place once the area was secure.

"Once the utilities secure the affected areas we'll work with the federal government to investigate how this occurred and who should be held accountable for the results and actions," Baker said, as CNN reported.

The Department of Pipeline Safety and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be involved with the federal investigation, CBS Boston reported. NTSB will be involved because pipelines are considered a mode of transportation.

Leonel Rondon, age 18, was killed when a house in Lawrence exploded and its chimney collided with the car he and two friends were sitting in, CNN reported.

He had just gotten his driver's license earlier that day, MassLive reported.

"You didn't deserve this. You are in a better place now. Rest in Peace my Love. You will always be on our hearts," his girlfriend Luisanna Rooselee wrote on Facebook, according to MassLive.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

Read More Show Less
Trevor Noah appears on set during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York on Nov. 26, 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah / YouTube screenshot

By Lakshmi Magon

This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less