Dozens of homes on fire in Massachusetts after series of gas leaks

Dozens of homes were reported to have caught fire in several northern Massachusetts towns on Thursday after a series of suspected gas explosions.

Massachusetts State Police said on Twitter that 70 fires, explosions or reports of gas odors had been reported to authorities.

Residents and people working in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were urged to evacuate buildings or homes serviced by Columbia Gas after explosions and fires were reported.


"Residents in the affected towns of Lawrence/North Andover/Andover who have gas service from Columbia Gas should evacuate their homes immediately if they have not already done so," state police tweeted. 

Police told CNN earlier that the gas explosions set fire to dozens of blocks and forced evacuations for residents living in the three towns.

"Incidents are across a wide swath of dozens of blocks across Lawrence and North Andover," Massachusetts State Police said on Twitter.

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon told The Associated Press that up to 25 homes were on fire in the city of Lawrence alone.
“You can’t even see the sky,” Solomon said. 
The AP additionally noted that State Police officers are currently trying to secure areas where “multiple suspected gas explosions" took place. 
At least six people have been admitted to a hospital in Lawrence with fire-related injuries, including two in critical condition, according to reports.
Several lawmakers urged residents to listen to evacuation orders.

Updated: 8:30 p.m.