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Multiple gas explosions start fires in towns near Boston, residents evacuated

A building burns after explosions in Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States in this September 13, 2018 photo from social media by Boston Sparks. (Photo by Reuters)

Explosions and fires in dozens of homes have caused 6 injuries and forced hundreds of residents to leave an area near Boston, Massachusetts.

Live TV footage on Thursday showed fire trucks and firefighters on high ladders, battling flames engulfing low-slung houses in Lawrence and North Andover, former mill towns about 40 km north of Boston.

The adjacent town of Andover was also caught in the fire. Emergency workers were headed to Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.

Boston television station WCVB-TV reported multiple injuries from more than 60 explosions across the area, and said that the local power company had shut off electricity to the affected communities.

The Columbia Gas company had announced earlier Thursday that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighborhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened.

Local media reports cited the possible rupture of a gas line. The first explosion was triggered by an overpressurized gas line, WBZ News reported.

"We are asking everybody with gas in their homes to leave their homes until further notice," North Andover town manager Andrew Maylor told one local television station.

This image taken on September 13, 2018 shows a fire engine near a building emitting smoke in Lawrence, Massachusetts. (Photo by Reuters)

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera told WBZ: "What we know is that there have been multiple explosions, multiple fires that are happening across the city." He said residents detecting strange odors should leave their homes.

The FBI Boston office has reported there are no signs indicating the incident was related to terrorism.


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