Emergency crews are responding to reports of gas-related multiple explosions and fires in three communities in the Merrimack Valley region on Thursday afternoon.
The Eagle-Tribune newspaper reports that at least one home has been destroyed and several others have caught fire amid a problem with a gas line that feeds homes in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Massachusetts State Police said they have confirmed response to 17 different addresses in the three communities for fires, explosions or investigations.
Andover is issuing an evacuation advisory for all residents and businesses. Anyone who knows how to safely turn off the gas service in their home or building is advised to do so.
Lawrence Fire said they are responding to multiple incidents in the city where residents called saying there was a problem with the gas line in their house. Multiple fires have been reported.
Lawrence police Chief Roy Vasque told The Eagle-Tribune that he's "never seen anything like this."
The newspaper reported that some neighborhoods were being evacuated.
The state fire marshal said they are sending multiple fire investigators to the Lawrence/North Andover area for a report of a high pressure gas main explosion that is impacting multiple houses. They said fires and explosions have been reported.
There is no word yet on whether anyone has been injured.
Massachusetts State Police said they are on scene and additional troopers are responding to Lawrence, Andover and North Andover to assist with scene security and traffic control after "multiple suspected gas explosions and structure fires."
Columbia Gas says they have multiple crews headed to Lawrence and North Andover to assess the situation. They are asking anyone who smells gas to leave the area, and to avoid turning lights on or off, opening or closing doors or using cell or landline phones. Once they leave the area, they can call the Columbia Gas Emergency Line at 800-525-8222.