Gas Error Causes Injuries in the Merrimack Valley Area

Columbia Gas's Mistake Led to a Series of Gas Explosions and Fires, Destroying Homes and Injuring Dozens

Columbia Gas Marker

Jim Henderson [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Columbia Gas Marker

Abby Joyce, Staff Writer

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On September 13, multiple gas fires and explosions occurred because of a gas company malfunction in North Andover, Andover and Lawrence, forcing hundreds of families and town residents to evacuate their homes and businesses, causing a chaotic scene throughout the Merrimack Valley.

At least one person was killed, and dozens of other residents of this area were injured after these fires.

Columbia Gas, which was the company responsible for this error, had over-pressurized the gas lines. All citizens who were supplied gas from this company were advised to evacuate their homes and turn off their gas. In addition to the dozens of businesses and homes evacuated, many schools in Andover, North Andover and the Merrimack Valley were closed due to the situation.

“It looked like Armageddon, it really did. There were billows of smoke coming from Lawrence behind me. I could see pillars of smoke in front of me from the town of Andover,” says Michael Mansfield, Chief of Andover Fire in an article for The Patriot Ledger, when describing the scene.

Columbia Gas is in the process of working to improve their gas lines and distribution in order to prevent this problem or any resembling problems from occurring in the future.”

— Abby Joyce

Columbia Gas had proposed a rate increase of $33 million in April, and after it occurred, they withdrew their proposal. “Columbia Gas said it is working on a plan to replace the entire gas-distribution system serving 8,600 customers in the region. The company said it expects to announce the plan in the next few days,” stated in an article by ABC’s WCVB 5 News.

Despite this mistake, Columbia Gas is in the process of working to improve their gas lines and distribution in order to prevent this problem or any resembling problems from occurring in the future.

”We will contact customers who may have service restored in the coming days and will keep all customers informed as gas line replacement work moves forward. Please be assured that we will restore any landscaping or disruptions to property that occur as a result of the work,” says one of the statements released on Columbia Gas’s website. Also, they advise all of their customers not to turn on their gas by themselves, to avoid potential dangers.

Their website also provides information about ways to detect potential hazards and what to do if they are encountered. It also describes their plan to improve their company’s facilities and how they will help people affected by this accident.

More information: https://www.columbiagasma.com

 

 

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