"Numerous evacuations of neighborhoods where there are gas odors are underway", MSP tweeted.
Crews scrambled to fight blazes at 39 properties and turned off gas and electricity lines to prevent further damage, with Massachusetts State Police urging all residents with homes serviced by Columbia Gas to leave.
The Columbia Gas company said earlier on Thursday it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened, but it isn't clear whether work was being carried out in these communities.
Epping Fire Chief Don DeAngelis said his firefighters were asked to respond to a school in North Andover where they would be staged, along with Brentwood fire crews.
Gov. Charlie Baker said 10 other people were injured Thursday in a series of fires and explosions that authorities blame on over-pressurized natural gas lines.More news: Paul Manafort may have struck a deal with Robert Mueller
"Cases range from smoke inhalation to traumatic blast injuries", the hospital said, adding that one patient had been taken to another hospital.
Emergency management officials believe over-pressurized gas lines triggered the fires, but investigators have yet to reveal an official cause, CBS News' Kenneth Craig reports.
Local officials said at least one firefighter and two civilians were injured in the "gas-related fires".
Troopers had been dispatched to Lawrence, Andover and North Andover to secure scenes and help traffic that has snarled roads as panicked residents attempt to flee their neighborhoods amid the afternoon rush hour, Massachusetts State Police said.
He says all residents should evacuate their homes if they smell gas.
A total of 8,000 homes must be inspected one at a time for problems with their natural gas systems before normal activities can resume in the homes, officials said.More news: New iPhone Rumors - Here's What We Know So Far
Firefighters put out 35 fires in Andover, town officials said. It was not clear whether work was happening there Thursday, and a spokeswoman did not return calls.
A map posted by Massachusetts State Police shows dozens of explosions and fires spread over the area. "What we need folks to do is that if it's happening in your home, you have a amusing smell, just evacuate, come out to the street".
Twenty to 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence, said Joseph Solomon, the police chief in nearby Methuen.
"We are coordinating with our law enforcement partners as expected and personnel are on scene, as we normally would be in a situation like this to assess the situation", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
"There is no expectation people will be able to get into their houses this evening", Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said at a news conference.
Warren and Seaman said the last time they responded to MA for a major blaze was the Malden Mills factory fire in Lawrence in 1995.More news: Jurgen Klopp fires back at Gary Neville
All customers of Columbia Gas have been warned of possible further explosions.