LAWRENCE, Mass. — Devastating explosions across the Merrimack Valley left an 18-year-old man dead.
Authorities believe over-pressurized gas lines are to blame for explosions and fires that ignited chaos Thursday afternoon. Several injuries were reported throughout the night, including one death.
>>MORE: LIVE BLOG: 1 dead, over 20 injured after gas explosions, fires in Merrimack Valley
Leonel Rondon was killed Thursday when a chimney from a house explosion fell on his car while sitting in a driveway on Chickering Road.
The RMV tells Boston 25 News Rondon had just been issued his driver's license on Thursday. This happened just two miles from where the 18-year-old lived.
He was pronounced dead at Mass. General Hospital.
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"The father is holding on, very sad, but he's a little bit stronger than the mom," former Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua said. "The mom is devastated."
Boston 25 News briefly spoke with his family Friday morning. As you can imagine, they are still in shock and disbelief.
Leonel Rondon was sitting in this SUV on Chickering Rd yesterday afternoon when the house exploded, sending the chimney into the air. It landed on his vehicle, killing him. He was 18 years old. pic.twitter.com/U9bQeoNEP3— Kelly Sullivan (@ksullivannews) September 14, 2018
Luis Medina, a family friend said Rondon's dad had just dropped his son off at the Chickering Road home, to celebrate after he got his license.
"His father just told me that he did drop off his son, he saw on the news a house exploded and the chimney dropped on someone and they died," Medina said. "Then to realize it's his son, it's sad. The family is broken apart. His mother is just crying and going through a tough time."
The investigation into these explosions remains very active.
The family set up a GoFundMe for Rondon after the death, raising money for funeral expenses.
Cox Media Group