Fire, explosions erupted in three US towns, 1 dead, hundreds evacuated

At least one person died and 12 others got injured after dozens of explosions and fire triggered by a natural gas pipeline rupture near Boston leading to mass evacuations from US towns north of Boston, police said.

Massachusetts State Police said that they had responded to nearly 70 reports of fires, explosions and the smell of gas in a widespread area encompassing the east coast towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Police said, “Numerous evacuations of neighbourhoods where there are gas odours are underway.”

Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield reportedly said that fire investigators suspected “over-pressurization of a gas main” belonging to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts led to the series of explosions and fires.

The blasts left dozens of homes and other buildings demolished as firefighters from some 50 departments raced for hours from one blaze to another and utility crews rushed to shut off gas and power in the area to prevent further ignitions and blasts.

Police tweeted, “Gas lines are currently being depressurised, and it will take some time.”

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement that he was “actively monitoring the situation,” urging “residents to heed instructions from local officials.”