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Gas line explosions blast three Massachusetts towns

BOSTON, Massachusetts (WCVB) - One person is dead, others are injured after a mass of explosions and structure fires in three Massachusetts towns.

An 18-year-old was killed in his vehicle when a chimney fell on him.

Several others, including at least one firefighter, were injured.

State authorities say there were nearly 40 fires Thursday, with 18 burning simultaneously at one point.

Chief Michael Mansfield of Andover Fire Rescue said: "It looked like Armageddon. It really did. There were billows of smoke coming from Lawrence and behind me. I could see plumes of smoke in front of me within the town of Andover. It looked like an absolute war zone."

Explosions and fires scorched three towns north of Boston. Evacuations were forced in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover.

Chief Michael Mansfield of Andover Fire Rescue said: "I have been in the fire service for almost 39 years and I have never seen anything like this in my entire career."

Dozens of homes were affected with blasts and fires and it appears a gas line problem is to blame.

Andrew Flanagan the Town Manager of Andover said: "It's our understanding that it has to do with gas pressure. We're working with the local utilities to evaluate that now and get a better understanding."

There is no word yet on when these residents can return home.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said: "At this time, the focus remains on insuring the public safety. Once that's complete we'll work with federal government and others to investigate how this occurred and to hold the appropriate parties accountable for their actions."

The FBI is part of the investigation into these explosions and officials say it's too soon to give damage estimates.


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