MA gas-blast: Residents allowed home after fires and explosions

Boston gas explosions

Over-pressurised gas lines are being blames for a series of blasts in towns north of Boston

A new natural gas leak was discovered in the Boston area just two days after a series of pipeline explosions killed one person, injured more than 25 and prompted MA to declare a state of emergency.

In Chicago in January 1992, a surge of gas was the cause of at least 10 fires and explosions, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

Earlier Thursday, before the fires broke out, the utility company that services the area announced it would be upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods across the state. Baker said New England-based Eversource would replace Columbia Gas of MA.

"We're very happy people can return to their homes", Baker said. Sumwalt said the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and the gas companies will make that decision, not the NTSB. NiSource spokesman Ken Stammen said he couldn't provide any details on Saturday's leak.

Thursday evening, homes erupted in flames across the three towns, consumed by more than 60 suspected gas fires.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera blasted Columbia's response in a news conference Friday, saying the company was the "last to act" and accused the company of not wanting to "foot the bill". Leonel Rondon, 18, died after a chimney fell on his auto in Lawrence.

Eversource tweeted Saturday that it was working to shut off more than 8,000 gas meters, and the company said it anticipated "this critical first phase will be substantially complete" Saturday night. Thousands were evacuated, and 18,000 people lost power at one point.

"Utility technicians must do their jobs in order to make sure everyone has a safe place to return to", Baker said.

Jeff Hall, spokesman for the Red Cross, said Friday there were nearly 400 people shelters after the Thursday night explosions and fires. "However, it will take a number of years to eliminate the aging pipe from the gas distribution system".

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