UPDATE 7:07 PM
Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan, Police Chief Patrick E. Keefe, and Fire Chief Michael Mansfield report that the Town of Andover is currently involved in a major gas-related emergency.
At 5:01 p.m., Andover Fire-Rescue Department struck a 10-alarm response, its maximum traditional fire response. That directed 20 fire engines and 10 fire ladder trucks to the Town of Andover plus the town’s entire fire department. However, a lot of those resources were diverted by concurrent 10-alarm situations in Lawrence and North Andover.
Chief Michael Mansfield requested through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, two additional fire task forces to respond to Andover. This sent an additional 20 engines and ladder trucks total to Andover. Chief Mansfield also requested an ambulance task force, sending 10 ambulances to Andover.
Andover responded and put out 35 total fires in Andover. At peak, 18 fires were burning at the same time. ALL FIRES HAVE BEEN EXTINGUISHED, however fire crews will remain in Andover throughout the evening.
These are gas-related fires. Columbia Gas is working to shut off gas service, and we will re-evaluate from there.
At least three people have been injured in Andover, including one firefighter and at least two civilians.
Chief Keefe notes that police resources from throughout Massachusetts have responded to Andover, including the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) Rapid Response Team, the NEMLEC Motor Unit, and the Massachusetts State Police. Chief Mansfield is grateful for the response of so many agencies including MEMA, The State Fire Marshal’s Office, and fire departments from as far away as Boston, Needham, and Belmont.
The Andover Senior Center and Andover Youth Center have been open for residents who have been displaced. Additional facilities may be opened if necessary.
More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. Updates will be made at www.andoverma.gov and on the town’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
UPDATE 5:53 PM
ATTENTION ANDOVER: If you know how to safely shut off your gas, please do so. Residents and businesses are being advised to evacuate. We will share updates as soon as possible.
The Senior Center at 30 Whittier Court is being opened for displaced residents.
The Town of Andover has activated its Emergency Operations Center.