Boston-area explosions have MA governor declaring state of emergency

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A man was killed as a series of explosions and fires rocked almost 40 homes and businesses in three MA towns on Thursday, according to the Essex County District Attorney's office.

"On a number of very significant issues, we heard one thing, then something else happened".

Massachusetts State Police said around 70 fires, explosions or investigations of gas odor had been reported on Thursday, though by Friday afternoon officials said that all had been extinguished.

Pipeline work before the explosions creates "a higher potential for a financial impact to the utility", CreditSights Inc. analysts Nick Moglia and Andy DeVries said in a note to clients Friday.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera had asked impacted residents to evacuate.

Not all gas had been shut off by Thursday evening and some of the lines were overpressurized, officials said.

One of her family members was displaced, she said, but her home was not damaged. "It happened all of a sudden, no one knew how it started and everything". As long as it takes. "It was scary. We didn't know anything". Fire and utility crews were going door to door to conduct safety checks, officials said. "There's oftentimes a tendency, when there are accidents like this, for a company to huddle down, to try to protect their shareholders when their one goal should be just to protect the people who they are serving". He said hundreds of gas technicians were going house-to-house to ensure each was safe.

Family members told local media that he had been in the auto with two friends, who were now in hospital.

"It looked like Armageddon", Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield reportedly said. At one, the upper portion of a brick chimney crushed an SUV parked in the driveway.

No additional gas-related emergencies had been reported on Friday. He later died in the hospital, authorities said.

"[Almquist] was able to get into her house and grab her cat before fleeing to her folks' place, but with so many people evacuating at once she says the 15-minute trip took her two hours", Smith reports. Three people rushed out.

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Coastal areas in both Carolinas have taken steps to evacuate residents and tourists, including a mandatory evacuation in SC . Rain projections also increased, with some locations along the North Carolina coast now expected to get up to 40 inches.

After the incident began, there were over 200 firefighters in Andover, according to John Guilfoil, a spokesman for the department.

"I've been in the fire service for nearly 39 years and I've never seen anything like this in my entire career".

Thousands of residents were forced from their homes and into the street as city officials implored residents to evacuate the area immediately. The blast levelled the Scores Gentleman's Club, injuring about 20 people and damaging dozens of other buildings. The blasts also left more than 18,000 homes and businesses without power.

A middle school in North Andover and a senior center in Andover were set up for evacuees, according to the agency. Many residents spent Thursday night in shelters, and schools and state offices in all three municipalities were closed Friday.

As investigators from the National Transportation Safety Bureau traveled to the Merrimack Valley on Friday, residents and the media clamored for answers from Columbia Gas.

Sumwalt said his agency would look at "the design of the pipeline system, any maintenance or upgrades being done or in process of being done on the pipeline". Columbia Gas has been upgrading its gas system across the state.

"Our mission is to find out what happened, so that we can learn from it and keep it from happening again", he said.

State Police said it was "far too early to speculate" on the cause of the incidents. "We will support you and your family", Rivera said at a news conference Friday, speaking in English and Spanish. Andover, North Andover and Lawrence were included in the planned projects. Columbia Gas noted that it would be "an extended restoration effort, and we will work tirelessly to restore service to the affected customers".

Just spoke with @SenWarren and @SenMarkey about the explosions and fires in #Lawrence, #Andover and #NorthAndover.

Columbia Gas of MA, the NiSource unit responsible for the local network, said in a statement that its crews would need to visit each of the 8,600 affected customers to shut off each gas meter and carry out a safety inspection. "Make plans for at least between now and this time tomorrow", Rivera said early Friday.

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