On the afternoon of Sept. 13, 2018, a series of explosions rocked the Merrimack Valley.
The blasts, caused by an over-pressurized natural gas line, killed a teenager, injured dozens more and triggered structure fires across three communities. In the immediate wake of the destruction, the Lawrence, Andover and North Andover fire departments sprung into action, running from one incident to the next before fully knowing what had happened.
Over the next few months, as the communities recovered, firefighters coordinated with municipal departments, federal and state agencies, and service groups to make sure residents had the resources they needed to begin returning to normal.
On Tuesday, the three departments were honored with the Stephen D. Coan Fire Marshal Award at the 30th Annual Firefighter of the Year awards at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.