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Weekend Reads The Latest: Columbia Gas says crews working to check safety

05:51  14 september  2018
05:51  14 september  2018 Source:   msn.com

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(Video provided by The Canadian Press)

LAWRENCE, Mass. - The Latest on gas explosions in Massachusetts (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

The company that owns Columbia Gas says its crews are performing safety checks after a series of fires and explosions erupted in three communities north of Boston, but did not explain what went wrong.

A statement from Indiana-based NiSource says its "thoughts are with everyone affected by today's incident" and that it appreciates the response from local emergency crews.

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State and local officials said at a news conference minutes earlier that they had still not heard from Columbia Gas following the fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. Gov. Charlie Baker later clarified that he thought the company's response was "adequate."

Authorities are blaming over-pressurized gas lines and previously told all residents with Columbia Gas service in those areas to evacuate.

At least six people were injured in the fires and explosions, including two in critical condition.

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8:20 p.m.

Officials say at least six people have been injured in a series of fires and explosions north of Boston that authorities blame on over-pressurized natural gas lines.

Lawrence General Hospital says it's treating six patients from the gas explosions including two in critical condition.

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Officials in Andover previously said at least three people, including a firefighter, had been injured in the town. It was not immediately clear if those were separate from the victims treated at Lawrence General.

State Police say at least 39 fires erupted Thursday afternoon in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

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Electricity is being cut to residents in all three communities as crews work to prevent further damage.

Officials in all three areas said school will be cancelled on Friday.

Firefighters battle a house fire, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, on Herrick Road in North Andover, Mass., one of multiple emergency crews responding to a series of gas explosions and fires triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in several communities north of Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm) © Provided by thecanadianpress.com Firefighters battle a house fire, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, on Herrick Road in North Andover, Mass., one of multiple emergency crews responding to a series of gas explosions and fires triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in several communities north of Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

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7:30 p.m.

Officials in Andover, Massachusetts, say at least three people, including a firefighter, have been injured in the town after a series of fires that authorities blame on a natural gas issue.

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It was not immediately clear whether those injured were different from the four victims with fire-related injuries taken to Lawrence General Hospital.

Andover officials say in a statement that all 35 fires in the town have been extinguished.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, firefighters battle a raging house fire in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP) © Provided by thecanadianpress.com In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, firefighters battle a raging house fire in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)

At the peak of the situation, they say 18 fires were burning at the same time in Andover.

State Police say at least 39 fires erupted Thursday afternoon in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Beavers may have caused fatal derailment: TSB

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Ra Nam, right, with his sons Evan, left, and Tristan, center, wait in a parking lot outside their Colonial Heights neighborhood which was evacuated Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Lawrence, Mass., due to fires and explosions triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in several communities north of Boston. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo) © Provided by thecanadianpress.com Ra Nam, right, with his sons Evan, left, and Tristan, center, wait in a parking lot outside their Colonial Heights neighborhood which was evacuated Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Lawrence, Mass., due to fires and explosions triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in several communities north of Boston. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo)

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7:15 p.m.

A man whose neighbourhood was among dozens that erupted in fire in communities north of Boston says he ran into his basement to find that the room was glowing.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, firefighters battle a raging house fire in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews responded to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP) © Provided by thecanadianpress.com In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, firefighters battle a raging house fire in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews responded to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)

Lawrence resident Ra Nam says he was in his yard when the smoke detector in his basement went off around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Nam says he ran downstairs and saw that his boiler was on fire. He says he quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and put it out.

Minutes later, Nam says he heard a loud boom come from his neighbour's house and the ground shook. Nam said a woman and two kids had made it out of the house, but the basement was on fire.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume the roof of a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP) © Provided by thecanadianpress.com In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume the roof of a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP) In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames rise from a house in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP) © Provided by thecanadianpress.com In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames rise from a house in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)

Massachusetts State Police say officials will be shutting off power to all residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

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6:55 p.m.

At least four people are being treated for injuries after a series of fires north of Boston that authorities blame on a natural gas issue.

Lawrence General Hospital says it has treated four victims with fire-related injuries but did not immediately release their conditions or the severity of the injuries.

State Police say at least 39 fires erupted Thursday afternoon in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Residents in those areas with homes that are serviced by Columbia gas have been urged to evacuate.

State Police say Columbia Gas crews are working to depressurize gas lines in the area. A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return calls.

The three communities house more than 146,000 residents and are located about 26 miles (42 kilometres) north of Boston.

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6:45 p.m.

Authorities in Massachusetts say a natural gas issue is to blame for at least 39 fires that erupted in homes across communities north of Boston.

A spokesman for the Andover Police Department says residents in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover whose homes are serviced by Columbia Gas were urged to evacuate on Thursday afternoon.

Massachusetts State Police say Columbia Gas is working to depressurize gas lines in the area. A company spokeswoman did not immediately provide comment.

State Police say they have confirmed fires at 39 locations but warn the number will grow.

The three communities house more than 146,000 residents and are located about 26 miles (42 kilometres) north of Boston.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP) © Provided by thecanadianpress.com In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)

Police Chief Joseph Solomon in nearby Methuen says there are so many fires "you can't even see the sky."

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5:10 p.m.

Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston.

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon says there are 20 to 25 homes on fire in Lawrence. Solomon, who's in Lawrence, says there are so many fires "you can't even see the sky."

The Eagle-Tribune newspaper in North Andover reports at least one home has been destroyed and several others have caught fire amid a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.

Massachusetts State Police say troopers are responding to the area to help secure areas after "multiple suspected gas explosions."

Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque told The Eagle-Tribune that he's "never seen anything like this."

The newspaper reported that some neighbourhoods were being evacuated.

It was not immediately clear whether there were any injuries.

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