First responders were overwhelmed as apparent gas explosions were ripping through homes in three Massachusetts towns Thursday.
Authorities are asking residents in the affected towns of Lawrence/North Andover and Andover who have gas service from Columbia Gas to immediately evacuate their homes:
Residents in the affected towns of Lawrence/North Andover/Andover who have gas service from Columbia Gas should evacuate their homes immediately if they have not already done so. Gas lines are currently being depressurized by the company it will take some time.
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) September 13, 2018
So far, authorities are saying there is no evidence of terrorism. Stay tuned…
Massive home explosions and fires were reported in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover–between 60 and 100 structures were burning. Police were also receiving dozens of calls reporting the odor of gas.
Here is the North Andover map showing where incidents have been reported:
Officials in North Andover have officially ordered an evacuation for the entire town.
Merrimack College ordered students, faculty and staff to evacuate buildings on campus “immediately” out of an abundance of caution.
Officials believe the cause could be an over pressurization of a gas line which caused ruptures in multiple homes leading to leaks, explosions, and fires.
“Residents in the affected towns of Lawrence/North Andover/Andover who have gas service from Columbia Gas should evacuate their homes immediately,” police said. “Gas lines are currently being depressurized by the company it will take some time.” Adding, it’s “far too early to speculate on cause.” – Breaking 911
The FBI in Boston said they will investigate out of an abundance of caution but said “there are no indications this incident is related to terrorism.”
Lawrence police Chief Roy Vasque said, “It’s bad. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon told a local news station there are so many fires “you can’t even see the sky.”
— Leo Ruiz (@ProducerLeo) September 13, 2018
WATCH the LIVE feed here:
Boston 25 News warns residents of these neighborhoods to get out of their homes!
— Boston 25 News (@boston25) September 13, 2018
The government there has activated the Emergency Operations Center in response. Off-duty firefighters were responding in their personal vehicles to help in the rescue efforts.
Firefighters from as far as New Hampshire were called in to assist.
ATTENTION ANDOVER: if you know how to safely shut off your gas, please do so. Residents and businesses are being advised to evacuate. We will post updates as soon as we have information.
— Town of Andover, MA (@AndoverMaGov) September 13, 2018