LAWRENCE (CBS) – Large sections of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were evacuated Thursday afternoon after a series of gas explosions and fires. Here is the latest:

• An 18-year-old man died. At least 25 people injured
• Leonel Rondon was killed when a house exploded in Lawrence and a chimney crushed his SUV
• 13 people were treated at Lawrence General Hospital, all but 1 have been released
• 60-80 fires and 3 explosions, according to MEMA
• Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover
• Gov. Baker, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera critical of Columbia Gas’ response, Eversource will now take the lead in recovery efforts
• Eversource says it could take weeks to fully restore gas service
• National Grid hopes to restore power to the majority of customers on Saturday
• The issue is related to a high pressure gas main, possibly over-pressurized
• MEMA has no further information on the cause yet
• An estimated 8,500 gas meters in that region, served by Columbia Gas, were affected; multi-unit homes have multiple gas meters
• 3,500 meters were checked overnight, according to MEMA
• Emergency crews going door-to-door to turn off gas at each home (Read: List of Stay Away Streets)
• If your street appears on the safe list, (Andover | North Andover) please do not turn on the gas yourself
• The restoration process is expected to take several days or longer
• Affected Columbia Gas customers can call 1-866-388-3239 with questions
• Nearly 18,000 National Grid customers are without power in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover
• Andover Police say the power will be out until at least 9 a.m. Saturday
• Lawrence, Andover and North Andover leaders say there is no timeline on when residents can return
• All roads into Lawrence are closed until further notice
• All residents of South Lawrence, regardless of utility provider, were asked to evacuate
• Power shut off to South Lawrence, parts of Andover and North Andover. This includes traffic lights
• Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said undocumented residents should feel safe after evacuating their homes
• 38 fires extinguished in Andover alone, with 17 additional gas leaks
• 29 homes impacted in North Andover
• “It looked like Armageddon,” said Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield
• 10-alarm fire response in all 3 communities
• Firefighters and police from across eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire responded
• Red Cross reception centers: Andover Senior Center and Youth Center, North Andover High School, Parthum and Arlington Schools in Lawrence, Central Catholic and St. Mary’s Church in Lawrence
• Residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover can call 211 for information
• Commuter Rail service on the Haverhill line suspended beyond North Wilmington
• All off ramps from I-495 between Exits 42-45 were closed; on ramps remained open
• No school in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover on Friday, including Catholic schools
• Andover Public Schools weekend activities are cancelled
• State offices in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover are closed Friday
• Merrimack College without power, but students are in dorms
• Lawrence courts closed Friday
• Department of Pipeline Safety and NTSB involved in investigation from federal level
• NTSB says it’s involved because pipelines are a mode of transportation

Comments (23)
  1. Len Graves says:

    It’s common to over-pressure gas lines to check for leaks. In this case, most likely, pipe deterioration caused subterranean leaks that were substantial.

    1. Not to the point that it is blowing up people’s homes…

    2. Jean Conway says:

      Russian steel, investors, infrastructure, 85% non whites living in an immigrant city within 30 miles to Boston, prime real estate for developers, and relocating poor hardworking citizens….tell us something we don’t know about our primo property that white folks have chased brown folks out since they landed on the continent. Follow the money. Sabotage. Putin playbook.

      1. Jean Conway why are you bringing race into this? Typical liberal snowflake always thinking it’s the “white” mans fault. Crawl yourself down from that cross you’re on and use the wood to build a bridge and GET OVER IT!

        This was nothing but a freak accident. Columbia Gas should be held fully responsible. I see a ton of sue jobs coming out of this.

  2. Tom Smith says:


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