Thousands without power after gas main break prompts evacuations in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - Thousands of people are without power after a gas main break in Lawrence Thursday afternoon prompted the evacuation of residents from 100 homes in the city, officials said.

Lawrence police and fire crews also ordered dozens of buildings cleared around 1: 15 p.m. after an eight-inch high-pressure gas main ruptured during a construction project on Jackson Street.

People in the area immediately reported hearing a boom and then smelled gas that suddenly started to jet out into the air.

“A significant amount of gas was being let out,” Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque said. “Obviously, it’s a grave concern when you’re talking about an ignition source.”

About 3,000 people are without power as a precaution, police said. The Lawrence Senior Center on Haverhill Street has been set up as an emergency shelter.

Traffic lights are not working and police are urging motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area of Jackson Street from Avon Street to the Methuen line.

A hospital and nursing home in Methuen were also impacted by the break but they, fortunately, had backup power supplies, according to Vasque.

The gas has since been shut off and repairs are underway. It’s not clear when the situation will be resolved because air-quality testing must be completed in the homes and buildings that were evacuated, officials said.

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