According to the police, at least one person lost his life and 12 were wounded after dozens of fires and suspected gas explosions erupted leading to mass evacuations from US towns north of Boston.
Massachusetts State Police said they had responded to 70 reports of fires, explosions and the smell of gas in a widespread zone encompassing the east coast towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
“Gas lines are currently being depressurised,” police said on Twitter, adding that “it will take some time.”
“Numerous evacuations of neighbourhoods where there are gas odours are underway,” police said. “Far too early to speculate on the cause. Joint investigation will be conducted when situation is stabilised.”
In a release dated Thursday the company had said it would “be upgrading natural gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state.”
“We continue to prepare for multiple casualties,” the hospital said.
Red Cross centers were open to shelter evacuees while Lawrence public schools were to shutter Friday.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement he was “actively monitoring the situation,” urging “residents to heed instructions from local officials.”