Teenager killed in MA gas blasts

The house owned by Lawrence Police Officer Ivan Soto sits nearly burned to the ground on Jefferson Street in Lawrence Mass. Friday Sept. 14 2018

He didn't say when the pressure increase was noticed.

Investigators will also look at how local Columbia Gas officials responded to a "pressure increase" in the Lawrence area that was detected at the company's pipeline control center in Columbus, Ohio, prior to the explosions and fires.

Lawrence, Andover and North Andover - the three towns impacted by Thursday's blasts - were listed as areas where neighborhood lines would be replaced, the utility said on its website.

"We're very happy people can return to their homes", Baker said. "We will be looking at their record keeping, their procedural compliance, their procedures, their training, the oversight of their contractors", Sumwalt said Saturday.

Fire crews in Lawrence are fighting a 3-alarm blaze as an apartment building goes up in smoke on Sunday.

Investigators expect to be on site up to ten days.

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Sumwalt said they will work to determine a cause for the incident and issue a preliminary report, but that a full detailed report on the exact cause may not be complete for up to two years.

There is no evidence that anything nefarious contributed to the fires, Sumwalt said.

At a press conference Sunday morning, Gov. Baker warned those returning home to remain vigilant and patient.

Residents should not attempt to turn on the gas themselves. It will take two more phases to restore gas: "assessing the damage to the low-pressure gas system" and "technicians inspecting all gas equipment from the meter, where gas enters a building, and throughout a building to all the appliances", according to MEMA.

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.

Electrical power to approximately 15,000 homes has been restored. The governor and Columbia Gas of MA president Steve Bryant have quibbled over the utility's level of preparedness. They say their system is up to date, modern and created to ensure that when gas flows into a customer's home, it's flowing at the appropriate pressure.

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