BOSTON — At least one person has died and 12 others were injured when as many as 70 gas-related explosions and fires rocked multiple homes and buildings in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover Thursday night, prompting officials to order widespread evacuations and establish emergency shelters.
Dozens of homes have also been destroyed after a series of sudden gas explosions north of Boston, in the US state of Massachusetts prompting the evacuation of hundreds, officials said.
Crews scrambled to fight at blazes at 39 properties and turned off gas and electricity lines to prevent further damage, with Massachusetts State Police urging all residents with homes serviced by Columbia Gas to leave.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said it appeared the gas lines had become over-pressurised.
Fire investigators suspected ‘over-pressurization of a gas main’ belonging to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts led to the series of explosions and fires, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said at a news conference.
Columbia Gas, a unit of NiSource Inc , had announced earlier in the day that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighborhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions occurred.
Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely
COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.
The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.
“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.