New Bedford residents heard the explosion at 9:45 a.m. Thursday, WBZ-TV Fires in one house were reported to have erupted and spread rapidly to homes on every side.
A witness told the news station that a fire started in the backyard of the house next to his when he tried to fry a turkey.
“He says he was cooking deep-fried turkey. The propane tank exploded. I heard the explosion, but I thought it was thunder,” he told the news agency.
Video of the incident shows firefighters trying to put out the blaze as smoke filled the air. A woman was taken to hospital. Her condition is unknown.
About 27 people in three houses were able to escape the fire. The Red Cross helped displaced families.
Scott Brooker, head of the New Bedford Fire Department, said investigators were investigating whether the fire was caused by “a cooking accident involving deep frying.” He said firefighters responded to four cooking “accidents” on Thursday.
“You can’t underestimate the risk of cooking because people are amateurs,” he said.
The fire department did not immediately respond to Fox News’ inquiries.
In a video posted on Facebook, New Bedford Mayor John Mitchell said: “This is very important when you are preparing your food to be safe and take extra precautionary measures.”
“Devoted bacon guru. Award-winning explorer. Internet junkie. Web lover.”