MA officials briefing on gas explosion latest

Crews with Columbia Gas of Massachusetts are seen in the South Lawrence area on Friday

Gas company linked to explosions in Massachusetts, West Virginia, Ohio

Residents in communities north of Boston that were rocked by natural gas explosions have been given the green light to return to their homes.

Baker said Eversource would replace Columbia Gas of MA on the same day he warned stunned residents of the towns that the return to normalcy could take time following blasts Thursday that set homes ablaze, forced evacuations and left one person dead.

A technician who punctured a gas line was to blame for this 2012 blast in Springfield that destroyed a nightclub and damaged almost a dozen other buildings and injured 17 people. One person was killed, several were hurt and dozens of people were evacuated.

Eversource tweeted Saturday that it was working to shut off more than 8,000 gas meters, and the company said it anticipated "this critical first phase will be substantially complete" Saturday night.

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Andover Fire Rescue Chief Michael Mansfield likened the scene to "Armageddon".

Leonel Rondon, an 18-year-old from Lawrence, died after an explosion sent a chimney crashing into his vehicle, the Associated Press reported.

The entirety of South Lawrence is still under an evacuation warning, Mayor Dan Rivera said Friday morning. He died at a hospital, authorities said.

At least 25 people were treated for injuries.

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Government records reveal at least three other serious explosions in Massachusetts, West Virginia and OH that are all linked to Columbia Gas.

Company president Stephen Bryant defended his company's performance Friday, saying it had more than 300 workers and contractors responding, with another 100 on the way.

The Red Cross reported Friday that about 400 people were staying in shelters.

Officials, meanwhile, are also warning about donations scammers.

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NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters in Washington the agency sent a "go-team" of investigators to the area.

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