Investigator: No evidence gas explosions intentional

16 September, 2018, 20:51 | Author: Myra Gill
  • ANDOVER MA- SEPTEMBER 14 Police at a blockade on the border of Lawrence and Andover

"I would say that we've advanced this as rapidly as it could possibly be advanced", he told reporters.

Leonel Rondon, an 18-year-old from Lawrence, died after an explosion sent a chimney crashing into his auto, the Associated Press reported.

Minutes later, he said he heard a loud booming sound from his neighbor's house.

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

Police and fire personnel, as well as 120 utility representatives, will be on standby as people return to their homes, the governor said.

Government records reveal at least three other serious explosions in Massachusetts, West Virginia and OH that are all linked to Columbia Gas.

"Our mission is to find out what happened, so that we can learn from it and keep it from happening again", he said.

Gas service was interrupted for 250 customers in Lawrence last month because of a line hit by a third party, according to the company.


Steve Bryant, president of NiSource's Columbia Gas unit, apologized for Thursday's incident, saying it was "the sort of thing that a gas distribution company hopes never happens".

Crews have turned off almost 8,600 gas meters in the area.

"Our thoughts are with the community and everyone impacted by yesterday's tragic incident".

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.

Local officials also warned about donation scammers.

This is not the first time that a subsidiary of NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas of MA, has been the subject of a federal probe stemming from a disaster.

Baker's selection of the New England utility was a rebuke to NiSource Inc., which owns the pipeline system that erupted and was criticized by Baker for an inadequate response to the Thursday blasts. He expects that NTSB investigators will remain on scene for seven to 10 days while they collect perishable evidence and conduct interviews. Later, that company became part of TransCanada. The company also provides electric distribution, generation and transmission services to nearly 500,000 customers in northern in as well.

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