LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - A Lawrence police officer’s home was among the many that were destroyed in the Merrimack Valley after as many as 70 gas-related explosions and fires sent people scrambling for cover Thursday night.

The fire broke out on Jefferson Street around 5 p.m., catching those who were home at the time by total surprise.

RELATEDAs many as 70 gas-related explosions, fires rock Lawrence, Andover, North Andover

Fortunately, everyone was able to escape to safety before the house was reduced to a hollowed out, unrecognizable pile of rubble.

The home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the scene.

Residents and neighbors were forced to stand and watch helplessly as the house burned to the ground.

“It went on for a while. You could see the plume of smoke from my house a couple of blocks away,” a neighborhood resident told 7News.

The officer, whose name was not released, was on duty when his home caught fire.

As many as 70 structures in neighborhoods in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover were damaged or leveled by the blasts.

A multi-level home on Springfield Street was also destroyed.

At least 10 people were hurt in total. Officials ordered widespread evacuations, set up emergency shelters, and closed schools.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox