One Dead in Massachusetts House Explosion

SOMERSET, Mass. (AP) - An explosion possibly caused by a gas
leak leveled a home Thursday evening, killing a woman and her dog
and damaging at least two nearby houses, officials said.

"It looked like a twister had gone through there," said
William Meehan, chairman of Somerset's board of selectmen. He said
the cause was suspected to be a natural gas leak.

Meehan said investigators believed the woman, whose name was not
immediately released, was alone except for a dog that also was
killed. Investigators were still examining the rubble.

He said one firefighter suffered a minor injury.

Residents were evacuated from nearby homes to a temporary
shelter at an elementary school.

Helen Sullivan, who lives about 100 yards from the site of the
blast, told The Boston Globe that there was "an overwhelming smell
of gas" on the house's street earlier in the day.

Sullivan said the explosion sounded like "a very loud sonic
boom." Another neighbor told WCVB-TV the blast sounded like a
plane crash.

Fire Marshall Steven Coan said his office was investigating.

Natural gas leaks were reported in two recent house explosions.
David Kupris, 45, was killed Dec. 17 in a blast in Scituate, and a
Gloucester police officer was injured when his home exploded on
Jan. 25.

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