State of emergency after deadly Boston gas explosions

A state of emergency has been declared after the deadly gas explosions north of Boston.

Authorities said they faced an "Armageddon"-like scene as gas main explosions tore through neighbourhoods, forcing thousands out of their homes.

It happened without notice during a series of gas explosions and fires on Thursday (local time) that raced through homes in three communities north of Boston.

One North Andover family returned home on Friday and tried to salvage what they could after their house went up in flames.

Louise Busineau lives next door and knew something was wrong when she heard a noise coming from her basement.

"I knew right away that perhaps I should leave the house," she says. "I grabbed my cellphone, came out in the yard, turned my head and saw that this house was on fire."

In neighbouring Lawrence, 18-year-old Leonel Rondon was killed when a chimney from an exploding home slammed into his car.

At least 25 others were injured. Dozens of buildings suffered damage.

A fire chief says it "looked like Armageddon".

Investigators led by the NTSB are trying to figure out how a natural gas line to more than 8500 customers of Columbia Gas became over-pressurised, leading to the explosions and fires.

CBS News