Multiple gas blasts and fires in Boston, USA mass evacuations under way

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Entire neighbourhoods were affected as crews scrambled to fight the flames

At least 10 people have been injured after a series of gas explosions rocked three communities north of Boston on Thursday.

Entire neighbourhoods were evacuated as crews scrambled to fight the flames in at least 39 homes and turn off gas and electric lines to prevent further damage

Massachusetts State Police urged all residents with homes serviced by Columbia Gas in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover to evacuate, halting traffic and causing widespread confusion as residents and local officials struggled to understand what was happening.

“It looked like Armageddon, it really did,” Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield told reporters. “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.”

Charlie Baker, governor of Massachusetts, said state and local authorities are investigating but that it could take days or weeks before they can provide answers.

“This is still very much an active scene,” he said. “There will be plenty of time later tonight, tomorrow morning and into the next day to do some of the work around determining exactly what happened and why.”

Hours after the explosions, the energy firm’s parent company issued a brief statement saying its crews were still performing safety checks in the area.

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by today’s incident,” Indiana-based NiSource said in a statement. “The first priority for our crews at the scene is to ensure the safety of our customers and the community.”