1 killed, 12 injured in fires, explosions after suspected gas leak in Massachusetts

PHOTO: Flames rise from a house in Lawrence, Mass., Sept. 13, 2018. PlayWCVB/AP
WATCH 1 killed, 12 injured in suspected gas leak

One person died and about a dozen others were injured in Massachusetts on Thursday as a series of gas-related fires and explosions tore through several communities, authorities said.

Eighteen-year-old Leonel Rondon was killed and at least 12 others were injured in Northern Massachusetts as fires and explosions tore the area, damaging at least two dozen homes and businesses, according to local authorities.

Rondon, a resident of Lawrence, was killed after one of the explosions sent a chimney crashing onto his car, Massachusetts State Police said.

Firefighters battle a house fire, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, on Herrick Road in North Andover, Mass., one of multiple emergency crews responding to a series of gas explosions and fires triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in severalThe Associated Press
Firefighters battle a house fire, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, on Herrick Road in North Andover, Mass., one of multiple emergency crews responding to a series of gas explosions and fires triggered by a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in several

There had been at least three explosions and as many as 80 fires reported as of late Thursday night, authorities said, citing a suspected gas line leak as the cause.

Many residents, including those located in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, were forced to evacuate.

At least 30 homes and businesses caught fire in Andover, and active fires were reported in Lawrence as of early Friday morning, several hours after initial reports surfaced, fire officials said.

“Our city has had a rough day today,” the city of Lawrence said in a statement early Friday morning. “We grieve for the loss ... and continue to support first responders."

The Massachusetts State Police Watch Center said it responded to explosions, fires and other gas-related reports at least 70 different addresses. The state’s governor said about 8,000 homes were affected.

Three victims in Andover included included a firefighter and two civilians, authorities said.

Evacuations were taking place in multiple neighborhoods where residents smelled gas, according to state police. Those who live south of the Merrimack River were told to evacuate, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said at a press conference Thursday night.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, firefighters battle a raging house fire in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that The Associated Press
In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, firefighters battle a raging house fire in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume the roof of a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have dThe Associated Press
In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume the roof of a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have d

Authorities also warned residents in the area who are served by Columbia Gas to "evacuate their homes immediately" as gas lines are being depressurized by the company.

Aerial footage taken by ABC Boston affiliate WCVB showed firefighters battling flames in a residential neighborhood that sent thick plumes of smoke into the air.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homesThe Associated Press
In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes

PHOTO: Flames rise from a house in Lawrence, Mass., Sept. 13, 2018. WCVB/AP
Flames rise from a house in Lawrence, Mass., Sept. 13, 2018.

Residents in Andover were evacuated to a local senior center, while residents in North Andover were directed to a nearby middle school.

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