An 18-year-old man was killed and at least 12 others were injured after dozens of gas explosions apparently triggered by an over-pressurized gas line ignited 70 fires in the home.
The victim, Leonel Robson of Lawrence, died after being taken to the hospital in Boston when a chimney of a house that exploded crashed into his car on Thursday.
Six other people are being treated at the hospital.
Massachusetts police say explosions in the cities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover rocked many neighborhoods on Thursday afternoon and that gas evacuations are taking place.
Columbia Gas, which has 313,000 customers throughout the state, says research is under way as the company works to reduce gas supply.
The authorities are struggling to close the gas supply to stop future explosions.
The Massachusetts state police are urging all people whose homes are served by Columbia Gas in the area to evacuate, growling traffic and causing widespread confusion as residents and local officials struggle to understand what is happening.
"It looked like Armageddon, it really did," Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield told reporters.
State police now calculate the number of fires and explosions in 70, compared to 39 initially reported, and the number is expected to grow.
There are no signs of foul play and local media reports suggest that the possible rupture of a gas line is to blame for WBZ News reporting that the first explosion was caused by an overpressured gas line.
Live television footage shows firefighters on the high stairs, battling flames engulfing low houses in Lawrence and North Andover, former industrial towns about 40 miles north of Boston.
The adjacent city of Andover was also involved.
The images published by the local media on Twitter showed numerous houses on fire or collapsed.
"We are asking everyone who has gas in their homes to leave their homes until further notice," North Andover village manager Andrew Maylor told a local television station.
The mayor of Lawrence, Dan Rivera, told WBZ: "What we know is that there have been multiple explosions, multiple fires that are happening throughout the city."
He said that residents who detect strange smells should leave their homes.
State police urged residents served by Columbia Gas, a unit of NiSource Inc, to evacuate their homes, saying the company was reducing pressure on their lines and that it would take "some time" to close all services.