Investigators are working to identify the cause of a series of natural gas explosions that killed a teenage driver in his car a few hours after he got his license, injured at least 25 others and left dozens of houses in smoky ruins.
Authorities said some 8,000 people were displaced at the height of the chaos after Thursday's explosion in three cities north of Boston affected by the disaster.
Most of them were still waiting, agitated and exhausted, to be able to return to their homes.
Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday that hundreds of gas technicians were being deployed throughout the night and until Saturday to make sure each house was safe to enter.
Even after residents return and their electricity is restored, the gas service will not turn on until technicians can inspect each connection in each home, a process that could take weeks.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to help investigate the explosions in a state where some of the aging gas pipeline systems date back to the 1860s.
The series of rapid-fire gas explosions that an official described as "Armageddon" caused fires in 60 to 80 homes in the working class cities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, forcing evacuation of entire neighborhoods while crews fought to combat Flame and turn off gas and electricity.
Gas and electricity remained closed on Friday in most of the area, and whole neighborhoods were strangely deserted.
Authorities said Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney collapsed from a house explosion crashed into his car. He was quickly taken to a hospital in Boston and pronounced dead on Thursday night.
Rondon, a musician who called himself DJ Blaze, had just obtained his driver's license a few hours earlier, said friends and family in the Boston Globe.
The NTSB said Friday that its team should be on the scene for a week.
The Massachusetts state police urged all residents with homes served by Columbia Gas in the three communities to evacuate, growling traffic and causing widespread confusion as residents and local officials struggled to understand what was happening. Some 400 people spent the night in shelters and the school was canceled on Friday while families waited to return to their homes.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency blamed fires on gas lines that had been pressurized excessively, but said investigators were still examining what happened.
The three communities are home to more than 146,000 residents about 40 kilometers north of Boston, near the New Hampshire border. Lawrence, the largest, is a majority Latino city with a population of approximately 80,000.
The authorities said that all the fires had been extinguished during the night and that the situation was stabilizing.
On Thursday, Andover's fire chief, Michael Mansfield, described the scene in development as "Armageddon."
"Behind me, there were clouds of smoke coming from Lawrence, I could see columns of smoke in front of me from the city of Andover," he told reporters.
The aerial images of the zone showed some houses that seemed destroyed by the explosions.
Gas explosions have claimed lives and destroyed property in the United States in recent years.