A series of gas explosions burned homes and caused chaos in a group of suburbs north of Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday.
Multiple explosions hit the communities of Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence.
At least one person died as a result of the an explosion, while 12 more were injured by fires and dozens of homes were destroyed.
Leonel Rondon, an 18-year-old from Lawrence, was critically injured when a chimney fell on his car following an explosion and later died in hospital, according to a spokeswoman from Massachusetts General Hospital.
Another Lawrence resident was getting off the bus from work when she saw “a big flash of light” at her home.
"Good thing I wasn’t home or I wouldn’t be talking about it," she told Reuters.
Firefighters, overwhelmed by the simultaneous fires and explosions, were forced to rush from one fire to the next.
Andover police said at one time there were 18 fires burning at once, and by the end of the day crews had extinguished 38 in total.
Throughout the three towns, more than 70 fires or explosions were reported because of the gas leaks.
Utility crews turned off gas and electricity in the area in a bid to prevent more explosions, but gas mains in affected homes will need to be checked in person.
More than 8,000 people were evacuated from the area until that work was finished, and told they should expect to be out of their homes for “several days or longer” by North Andover town manager Andrew Maylor.
Michael B. Mansfield, the fire rescue chief of Andover, said the group of explosions was “an overwhelming event.”
"I have been in the fire service for almost 39 years and I have never seen anything like this in my entire career," he said.
"It looked like Armageddon, it really did."
Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said the leaks and explosions were probably caused by “over-pressurization” of a gas main.
Work is underway to restore power to the communities, while the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Bureau of Investigation have launched their own investigations.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a press conference that the disaster was “an incredibly difficult day.”