Monday, 19 November, 2018

MA gas explosions reminiscent of 1992 Chicago incident

The house owned by Lawrence Police Officer Ivan Soto Modal Trigger The house owned by Lawrence Police Officer Ivan Soto. AP
Jeannette Daniel | 16 September, 2018, 20:52

It's still not clear what caused dozens of natural gas explosions that rocked three MA towns Thursday.

More than 60 suspected gas fires broke out Thursday evening in homes in the north Boston towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

The dramatic series of explosions and fires Thursday destroyed or damaged dozens of homes, killed a teenager, injured dozens and forced thousands of people to evacuate from the three Merrimack Valley communities.

Eversource said the recovery process is ongoing but phase one, which was to shut off the 8,600 impacted gas meters and restore 15,000 power outages, is complete.

Michael Mansfield, the Andover fire chief, said: "I have never seen anything like this".

Leonel Rondon, an 18-year-old from Lawrence, died after an explosion sent a chimney crashing into his vehicle, the Associated Press reported. The governor and Columbia Gas of MA president Steve Bryant have quibbled over the utility's level of preparedness.

More news: PSG prepare for Liverpool with 4-0 victory

"Weather permitting, work will take place Monday through Friday", Columbia Gas said in a statement. "I often say the people of MA are resilient and this devastating situation is no exception", said Baker.

He said investigators will be working to develop a timeline going back at least three weeks, including reviewing any reports of gas odors reported by residents in the affected communities of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover. He later died at the hospital, authorities said.

Columbia Gas has had seven violations totaling $100,000 since 2010, according to an email from Peter Lorenz, communications director for Massachusetts's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters in Washington the agency sent a "go-team" of investigators to the area.

Local officials also warned about donation scammers.

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