Published: Sun, September 16, 2018

No evidence MA gas blasts were intentional, investigator says

No evidence MA gas blasts were intentional, investigator says

In the three MA communities rocked by a series of devastating gas fires and explosions, residents are running out of patience, with their fingers pointed at Columbia Gas.

In Chicago in January 1992, a surge of gas was the cause of at least 10 fires and explosions, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

Authorities are placing the blame on over-pressurized natural gas lines. Baker said New England-based Eversource would replace Columbia Gas of MA.

Gov. Charlie Baker and other officials announced Sunday morning that people in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover were cleared to return home. A NiSource spokesman said he couldn't confirm details of the blasts as outlined in the note.

Some 60 homes and businesses north of Boston in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover experienced explosions and fires.

Rivera also said all routes into and out of Lawrence are open.


Leonel Rondon, 18, was killed inside a auto in the town of Lawrence when a chimney fell on his vehicle from a house explosion, a spokeswoman with the Essex County District Attorney's office said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated on Thursday evening, with gas and electricity services cut to try and prevent further incidents.

The governor said he urged Columbia Gas to develop a "comprehensive safety inspection plan".

National Grid Plc, which operates the electric utility in the area, was asked to shut power to all of Lawrence, North Andover and pockets of Andover, spokeswoman Christine Milligan said. Thirteen people were treated at Lawrence General Hospital for injuries, officials said.

"Replacing leak-prone infrastructure is a leading priority", the utility said in April. It will take two more phases to restore gas: "assessing the damage to the low-pressure gas system" and "technicians inspecting all gas equipment from the meter, where gas enters a building, and throughout a building to all the appliances", according to MEMA.

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