Massachusetts Residents Return Home After Deadly Gas Explosions

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Hundreds of people were evacuated on Thursday evening, with gas and electricity services cut to try and prevent further incidents.

Thousands of people have been moved out after gas explosions tore through three towns in MA, setting dozens of homes on fire and killing a teenager.

"We still have a long way to go, but I am so happy that people can return back home this morning", Baker said in a tweet.

MEMA urged residents returning home not to attempt to turn on gas meters without a technician and to immediately vacate if they smell gas.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the MA explosions. "The second step of Phase 1 is to safely restore power, [and] as of 6:30, over 15,000 residents have had their power restored and 100 percent [will have it] shortly".

A full report on the exact cause may not be complete for up to two years, he said.

"We are very interested to understand the operations of Columbia Gas".

The type of ticket being handed out to those waiting in the long lines at the claim center in Lawrence
The type of ticket being handed out to those waiting in the long lines at the claim center in Lawrence

They said some residents in Lawrence and Andover have received calls from individuals falsely claiming they're collecting donations on behalf of a local firefighters' association for the disaster.

Baker declared a state of emergency Friday and said New England-based Eversource would replace Columbia Gas as the lead utility in the recovery efforts.

State investigators ruled in 2015 that Columbia Gas of OH was at fault in a serious explosion that left eight homes "uninhabitable" and damaged more than 20 others.

"The explosions have brought heartbreak for numerous families-and the loss of a young life", Baker said.

Andover Fire Rescue Chief Michael Mansfield likened the scene to "Armageddon". The remaining displaced residents, which officials say are in the thousands, likely stayed with friends and family, Red Cross spokesman Jeff Hall said. Leonel Rondon, 18, died after a chimney fell on his auto in Lawrence.

Gas service is not being restored at this time. The company a subsidiary of NiSource, a utility company that serves more than three million customers in seven states.

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