Explosions and fires rock Boston neighbourhoods

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At least one person has been killed and many others injured after a series of reported gas explosions rocked towns north of Boston in MA.

Mass evacuations from USA towns north of Boston were underway Thursday after dozens of fires and suspected gas explosions erupted, police said, leaving at least 10 residents injured, one critically.

Columbia Gas President Steve Bryant said the company is now working to turn gas back on to 8,000 customers in the three communities.

Fire and smoke billowing out of a home in Boston, in the USA state of MA.

Leonel Rondon, an 18-year-old Lawrence resident, died after a house explosion sent a chimney crashing into his auto, the Associated Press reported.

Firefighters battle a house fire in North Andover, Mass., one of a series of fires and explosions on Thursday thought to have been triggered by a gas line that feeds several communities north of Boston.

Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield described the harrowing scene as, "Armageddon".

At least three people, including one firefighter, were hurt in Andover, the town said in a statement, but it was unclear whether any of those individuals were among the patients treated in Lawrence, some of whom were later released.

People cover their faces to protect themselves from heavy smoke.

"It's definitely a scary situation at the moment", he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board have a team of investigators headed to the area, officials said.

Officials seen at the command center Friday morning included Schwartz, Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Sen.

Not all of the fires have been fully extinguished yet, Mayor Dan Rivera said at a 00:30 local (04:30 GMT) press conference.

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As of Thursday evening, authorities said they believed the incidents may have been caused by over-pressurized gas lines.

Columbia had announced earlier on Thursday (Friday NZT) that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened.

It wasn't immediately clear if anyone was injured.

Public schools in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover will be closed on Friday because of the fires.

Gas explosions have claimed lives and destroyed property around the U.S.in recent years.

The streets were darkened after nightfall with power cut off to the area as a precaution.

State police urged residents served by Columbia Gas to evacuate their homes. Minutes later, Mr Nam said he heard a loud boom from his neighbour's house and the ground shook. "It's total destruction. I'd be completely devastated".

"There could be still a gas leak in your home", Rivera said.

A man whose neighborhood 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. Nam said a woman and two kids had made it out of the house but the basement was on fire.

Lawrence General Hospital said it was treating four people with injuries related to the fires, but it did not provide details about their condition. Solomon told reporters there were so many fires "you can't even see the sky".

At 7:25 p.m., state police had tallied 70 responses to fires, explosions or investigations of gas odor in the three communities. They plan on reopening affected parts of South Lawrence in larger sections at once.

Flames rise from a house after a series of gas explosions in the city. The first explosion was triggered by an overpressurized gas line, WBZ News reported.

In 2014, a gas explosion in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood killed eight people and injured about 50.

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