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Teenager killed in MA gas blasts

16 September 2018

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.

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.

At least one person, a teen, was killed and several more were injured when more than 60 suspected gas fires broke out in the three towns north of Boston.

The NTSB sent a team Friday to investigate what "appears to be multiple explosions involving (a) natural gas pipeline in the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts", Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

The local utility in that area shut down all power in the three towns for the gas lines to be depressurized. Leonel Rondon, 18, died after a chimney fell on his auto in Lawrence. 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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The entirety of South Lawrence is still under an evacuation warning, Mayor Dan Rivera said Friday morning.

Columbia Gas has had seven violations totaling $100,000 since 2010, according to an email from Peter Lorenz, communications director for Massachusetts's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

"We are very interested to understand the operations of Columbia Gas". It makes them feel special that people out there care about us - that the Red Sox were taking cash donations at the games, that stuff is really great. Declaring a state of emergency gave the state authority to decide who would oversee the response, he said.

Sumwalt said NTSB investigators expect to be on site up to 10 days but a final report about what happened could take up to two years to complete.

Teenager killed in MA gas blasts