Lawrence area residents get the all-clear to go home

Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover residents who hadn’t been able to return home after Thursday’s string of fires and gas explosions can now go back, state officials said early Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference in Lawrence, Governor Charlie Baker thanked residents for showing patience over the past three days.

All impacted homes have been safely cleared of gas, he said, and 8,600 gas meters in the area have been shut off.

“We’re very happy people can return to their homes,” Baker said.

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Nearly all residents in the area have had power restored, he said.

Baker added that much more work remains in the recovery effort.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera said that city officials will work with residents to eliminate red tape. “This is not a time to make sure we have three copies of every document.”

Rivera was emotional in thanking those who have contributed to a growing relief fund.

“The fact that we were able to raise $100,000 in two days is heartwarming,” he said. “We will do right by your money and that support.”

A man was killed and at least 25 people were injured in Thursday’s fires and explosions.

In other developments:

MassDOT said early Sunday that all exits from Interstate 495 have been reopened. Rivera also said all routes into and out of Lawrence are open.

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