Gas Explosion, Fire Level Lexington, Massachusetts Home

At approximately 11:30 am on Wednesday, November 9, 2005, the Lexington, Massachusetts Fire Department responded to a report of an explosion and fire at #4 Hancock Avenue, located a short distance from fire headquarters.

The blast could be felt inside the main fire station and surrounding neighborhood.

Companies found smoke showing upon arrival and heavy fire conditions throughout the two story, wood frame structure.

The remaining front portion of the home collapsed shortly after the arrival of fire companies.

The fire was quickly elevated to a third alarm bringing mutual aid from surrounding towns to the fire and to cover Lexington stations.

Companies from Hanscom AFB, Bedford, Waltham, Belmont and Burlington all operated at the scene in support of the Lexington Fire Department.

Defensive fire operations were quickly undertaken, attempting to prevent extension to exposure buildings on the B and C sides, including a garage on the property.

Multiple master streams and handlines were placed into operation including Lexington and Bedford's ladder pipes.

Two occupants were on the property at the time of the explosion. Both fled the house prior to the explosion.

Portions of the front facing windows and doors to the home were blown into neighboring yards on the opposite side of the street. Both residents, described as an approximately 30 year old male and a female of unknown age were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Keyspan Energy Delivery officials were on the scene with local and state authorities investigating the circumstances leading to the explosion and subsequent fire.

Reports of an over pressurization of the gas system were still under investigation according to Lexington Fire Chief William Middlemiss.

Gas fed flames continued to burn in the home's wreckage over an hour into the fire. Natural gas service was shut off to the area just North of downtown Lexington.

Mutual Aid companies investigated multiple calls for gas odors while the fire scene was active.

Seven additional homes were found to have natural gas levels in the explosive range. A total of 1800 homes had their gas sevice tunred off and were under voluntary evacuation by late afternoon. A shelter for evacuees established at Lexington High School was expected to be open throughout the night.

The Lexington Fire Department is a career department made up of 54 personnel, in two stations, protecting a population of 36,000 in 16+ square miles.

Lexington is located 12 miles Northwest of Boston, Massachusetts.