Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney toppled by an exploding house crashed into his vehicle, authorities said.
Firefighters raced for hours from one blaze to another and utility crews rushed to shut off gas and electricity to prevent further explosions on Thursday.
Hours before the explosions, the company had unveiled plans to upgrade gas lines across MA, including in the areas where the blasts happened.
Public schools in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover will be closed on Friday because of the fires.
Officials say at least 25 people have been treated for injuries, but it is not clear how severe a condition they are in.
There are no indications of foul play and local media reports suggest a possible rupture of a gas line is to blame with WBZ News reporting the first explosion was triggered by an overpressurised gas line.
CBS Boston station WBZ reports emergency crews have responded to dozens of different addresses and extensive damage could be seen at a number of homes.
Authorities were to cut power to thousands of meters, police said, and residents in all three towns with utilities service from Columbia Gas had been asked to evacuate immediately. Video showed roofs and walls consumed by flames that billowed thick black smoke.
Fire burns in a home destroyed in a gas explosion in Lawrence, Mass., Thursday.
Police said they were dealing with explosions or fires in 39 locations.
State officials said Columbia Gas was working to ease pressure on gas lines following the fires. No other information on a timeline or work required was immediately available from the company.
Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon told USA Today there are so many fires, "you can't even see the sky".
Some residents were evacuated from their homes to senior centers and middle schools as officials investigated the situation, police said.
"People need to get out of this area safely", he said at the time.
Andover Fire-Rescue sent a 10-alarm response, the highest level.
Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque told the paper one home in the area had been "demolished" by a blast.
The three communities house more than 146,000 residents and are located about 26 miles north of Boston.
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.
Not all of the fires have been fully extinguished yet, Mayor Dan Rivera said at a 00:30 local (04:30 GMT) press conference.
- A 2011 natural gas explosion killed five people in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and that state's largest gas utility was fined by regulators who called the company's safety record "downright alarming".