Flames consuming a home in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Photo via CBS Boston Youtube page

Firefighters have responded to at least 70 reported fires and explosions at homes caused by over-pressurized natural gas lines in three Massachusetts towns, according to state police, forcing neighborhoods to evacuate as first responders scramble to secure scenes and prevent further damage.

The big picture: The explosions underscore the inherent risks of relying on fuels that can be explosive, Axios' Amy Harder writes. This is likely to add to already intense opposition to natural gas across the U.S., particularly in New England. America has become increasingly reliant on the fuel over the last decade as fracking and other extraction techniques helped unlock new supplies.

The details: The AP reports that at least six people with fire-related injuries are being treated at nearby hospitals, but their conditions and severity of the injuries are unknown.

  • Photographs and videos from the scenes show houses bursting into flames with thick smoke. The AP also reports that the three communities house more than 146,000 residents.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the increase in affected homes.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 31,175,205 — Total deaths: 962,076— Total recoveries: 21,294,229Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,829,956 — Total deaths: 199,690 — Total recoveries: 2,590,695 — Total tests: 95,121,596Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

McConnell: Senate has "more than sufficient time" to process Supreme Court nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber has "more than sufficient time" to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, and accused Democrats of preparing "an even more appalling sequel" to the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Why it matters: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans push ahead with the confirmation vote before November, vowing alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to use "every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary."

House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Democrats on Monday released their proposal for short-term legislation to fund the government through December 11.

Why it matters: This is Congress' chief legislative focus before the election. They must pass a continuing resolution (CR) before midnight on Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown — something both Hill leaders and the White House have claimed is off the table.