LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - The Red Cross has opened a reception center for Lawrence residents who were forced from their homes following a “major” gas leak on Friday morning.

The reception center is located at the Arlington Street Middle School at 150 Arlington Street.

Red Cross volunteers are coordinating with city officials, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency personnel, first responders, the Salvation Army, and other local community groups to feed and care for nearly 300 residents who had to evacuate the area of South Broadway and Salem Street around 3 a.m.

“We’re just trying to make everybody as comfortable as possible. We understand nobody expected to be out of their homes. We have a lot of folks with young children with no diapers and no formulas, so we’re working on that right now to get people comfortable,” American Red Cross spokesperson Jeff Hall said. “It’s a bit of a chaotic situation but we’ve been through this about a year ago, and right here at the Arlington School. So they’ve been very supportive.”

Resident Lois Cosme reiterated that this is a chaotic situation.

“I know there’s a lot of volunteers trying to help, but it’s really chaos,” she said. “Everybody’s clueless. We’re just kind of sitting there not knowing what’s going on. We’re lost.”

Firefighters found gas traveling through the sewers after a line that was replaced following the 2018 Merrimack Valley started leaking.

The leak was labeled an “isolated incident,” officials said. Crews are working to make necessary repairs and there is no threat to the public.

Displaced residents will be allowed back into their homes at 3 p.m.


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