Late Thursday afternoon was not a kind day to residents in Massachusetts as gas explosions brought what many could only describe as Armageddon to three towns outside of Boston. At the time of this writing it has been reported that one person lost their life while at least twenty others were injured and dozens of homes were completely destroyed in Thursdays explosions. A series of explosions that took place in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover saw firefighters racing to 40 different properties as they tried to bring the raging fires under control and put them out. It is believed that the series of explosions that hit these communities started around 4:30 p.m. as dozens of fires spread out across a number of houses and businesses as a result.
The one person who has been reported killed as a result of yesterdays hellish event that upset a large number of Massachusetts residents was an 18 year old man who the Essex County District Attorney’s office has identified as Leonel Rondon. At the time that his life came to an unfortunate end he was sitting in his driveway as a chimney fell on his car. Despite being rushed to the hospital there was nothing that the trained medical staff could do to help him and he was pronounced dead Thursday evening.
The residents of the three towns neighboring Boston were strongly encouraged by the Massachusetts State Police to immediate vacate their homes in wake of the explosions that were taking place and temporarily relocate to a safer location while hours later power lines were shut down as a precaution meant to prevent further fires from taking place.
While talking to various members of the media Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield compared the scene to Armageddon. ABC news reported that he said, “it really did. There were billows of smoke coming from Lawrence behind me. I could see pillars of smoke in front of me from the town of Andover. I have been in the fire service for almost 39 years, and I have never seen anything like this in my entire career.”
Despite the hectic scene that broke out when the series of explosions started only hours before, by Thursday evening local firefighters and officials were confident that they had the situation. It is believed at this time that the cause of explosions that rocked several residents of Massachusetts was over pressurization of a gas main belonging to Columbia Gas. It remains unclear whether or not the company was doing any work on the pipes at the time of the explosions after announcing that they would be upgrading the pipes throughout the neighborhoods across the state.