Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

MA gas explosions: Residents allowed to return to homes

MA gas explosions: Residents allowed to return to homes

A strong gas odor has brought officials back to one of the MA communities rocked just days ago by natural gas explosions and fires.

Dozens of homes were destroyed or damaged, a teenager was killed and dozens of people were injured in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate.

A pipeline controller working at a console in Columbus, Ohio, noticed the pressure increase in a pipeline in Lawrence, Massachusetts, one of the three towns where the fires occurred, Sumwalt told CNN's Alison Kosik.

Baker's office said in a statement that Phase 2 of the recovery is assessing damage to the low-pressure gas system, and Phase 3 is technicians inspecting all gas equipment, from the meter, where gas enters a building, and throughout the building. "But, we are very happy people can return to their homes this morning".

"We are very interested to understand the operations of Columbia Gas".

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Sumwalt said they will work to determine a cause for the incident and issue a preliminary report, but that a full detailed report on the exact cause may not be complete for up to two years. If you smell gas or smoke, notice damage to gas appliances, or other potential emergency situations, step outside and call 9-1-1. Andover also announced in a tweet the schools would be open Monday.

Restoration of gas service to homes and buildings throughout the area will take longer, officials said.

Federal and state officials are investigating.

Andover Fire Rescue Chief Michael Mansfield likened the scene to "Armageddon".

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. He later died at the hospital, authorities said. It will be staffed by representatives of local and state agencies and will provide services to the Merrimack Valley residents impacted by the gas leaks. Later, that company became part of TransCanada.

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