Columbia Gas Incident, Sept. 13, 2018

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Starting around 4:15 PM on September 13, 2018, customers of Columbia Gas in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover started experiencing explosions and fires. Up to as many as 70 properties were damaged or destroyed, one person killed, about two dozen injured.
Our condolences to those affected by this tragic distribution system failure. Impacts like this, as well as long-term health and environmental impacts from “routine” operations are why we oppose fracked gas infrastructure. It’s a dangerous, and an outdated mode of delivering energy. The time to convert to electric high-efficiency heat pumps and clean energy sources is now.

DEVELOPING – 10/18/18:
There is some question as to Columbia’s policy on reimbursing its customers affected by the gas explosions. Originally, and as is still stated on their website’s policy page, they said:
“Columbia Gas will reimburse residential customers for reasonable socsts of permanently switching to an alternative fuel source (e.g. electric or oil) for appliances or systems what were fueled by nature gas prior to the outage.”
Third bullet point on page 1 of their Outline of Claims Handling for Customers document

Then at 6:00 PM on October 17, they Tweeted:
“IMPORTANT UPDATE, PLEASE READ! If you have purchased an air-forced heat pump or mini-split AC/Heating solution we CANNOT provide reimbursement as it is not a like-for-like replacement. For more information, please contact our claims office at 1-800-590-5571.”

We will be posting any updates here and news articles below.

» Resources for those affected and those wanting to help


NEWS:

OFFICIAL INFO LINKS:
NTSB Preliminary Report Executive Summary
Download full preliminary report
Columbia Gas website page reporting on incident
EverSource Merrimack Valley Incident Updates

» Not all Merrimack Valley residents impressed by holiday meal offered by Columbia Gas
Many residents affected by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions will still be out of their homes or without gas for the holidays. A Thanksgiving meal is “too little, too late,” they say.
By Kristin Toussaint, Metro USA
November 12, 2018

» Columbia Gas sets locations for Thanksgiving meals
By Lisa Kashinsky, North Andover Eagle-Tribune
November 12, 2018

» Columbia Gas offering 20,000 Thanksgiving dinners as 56 percent of residential meters lack gas restoration
By Gintautas Dumcius, MassLive
November 12, 2018

» Pipeline peril: Natural gas explosions reveal silent danger lurking in old cast iron pipes
By Gregory Korte and Nick Wooten, USA TODAY
November 5, 2018

» Columbia Gas Pledges To Promote Energy Efficiency In Affected Merrimack Valley Homes
By Barbara Moran, WBUR Radio
November 5, 2018

» Lawrence disaster estimated at $800 million and counting
By Milton J. Valencia, Boston Globe
November 1, 2018

» Independent Evaluator Selected for Statewide Safety, Policy Review of Natural Gas Distribution System
By MassDPU
November 1, 2018

» Hundreds of Lawrence residents beg Columbia Gas for service, answers
By Jordan Graham, Boston Herald, October 28, 2018

» National Grid workers sit idle while out-of-state workers struggle to restore power in the Merrimack Valley
By Adrian Walker, Boston Globe, October 28, 2018

» Gas pipes damaged in Mass. with alarming frequency
By Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe, October 27, 2018

» Columbia Gas blasted for blown deadline
Work lingers into December
By Jordan Graham, Boston Herald, October 27, 2018

» Columbia Gas to miss deadline by up to a month
By Jordan Graham, Boston Herald, October 26, 2018

» Columbia Gas likely to miss Nov. 19 deadline
Current work rate would set restoration back months
By Kiera Blessing and Zoe Mathews, Eagle Tribune, October 25, 2018

» Mass. Natural Gas Explosions Highlight Tension Between Recovery and Long-Term Efficiency Goals
The explosions and fires that damaged dozens of structures in Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley last month has initiated a conversation about the future of natural gas in the region.
By Justin Gerdes, Greentechmedia.com, October 24, 2018

» Editorial: Columbia Gas must do more as temps drop
Boston Herald Saturday, October 20, 2018

» Locked-out National Grid workers to assist in Merrimack Valley gas restoration
By Kristin LaFratta, MassLive, October 19, 2018

» Merrimack Valley: Here’s where Columbia Gas stands with explosion repairs
By Boston 25 News
October 19, 2018

» Columbia Gas reaches midpoint in gas main rebuilding effort after last month’s explosions, fires
By John R. Ellement, Boston Globe
October 16, 2018

» Columbia Gas reverses policy, will not reclaim temporary heat sources from homes
By Kiera Blessing, Andover Eagle-Tribune, October 16, 2018

» Columbia reserves ‘rights’ to take back temporary heating solutions
By Kiera Blessing, Andover Eagle-Tribune, October 15, 2018

» Legislature to Hold Merrimack Valley Oversight Hearings
Senate President Karen E. Spilka, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, October 12, 2018

» Columbia Gas Moving Workers To Leased Cruise Ship
The company said the move will free up hotel rooms for Andover, North Andover and Lawrence residents who remain without gas.
By Dave Copeland, Andover Patch, October 12, 2018

» State orders Columbia Gas to halt work except in Merrimack Valley
By Travis Andersen, Boston Globe, October 12, 2018

» Still without gas, families start moving into trailers
By Jill Harmacinski, Andover Eagle-Tribune, October 11, 2018

» NTSB Releases Cause of Deadly Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions
The report confirms that overpressurized natural gas lines were the source of the deadly explosions and fires
By Marc Fortier, NECN, October 11, 2018

» Preliminary Report Pipeline: Over-pressure of a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Low-pressure Natural Gas Distribution System
National Transportation Safety Board, October 11, 2018

» Massachusetts Gas Explosions Draw Scrutiny of Natural Gas Safety and Climate Risks
By Guest Contributor Dan Zukowski, DeSmog Blog
October 10, 2018

» Columbia Gas Replaces 18 Miles of Pipeline in Merrimack Valley, Adds New Shelter
While crews work on pipelines in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, a new shelter will open Monday at 46 Stafford Street in Lawrence
By John Moroney and Karla Rendon-Alvarez, NECN.com, October 8, 2018

» Shelter Opens for Columbia Gas Customers Affected by Merrimack Valley Fires
By Mike Manzoni, NECN.com, October 8, 2018

» Columbia Gas policy change raises questions about its previous oversight
By Matt Rocheleau, Shelley Murphy and Milton J. Valencia, Boston Globe, October 4, 2018

» Lawrence school evacuated due to gas leak
This and 2 other incidents not related to Sept. 13 disaster
By Zoe Mathews, North Andover Eagle-Tribune, October 4, 2018

» Concern over gas line expansion grows for local homeowners
By Erin Fitzsimonds, Maggie Lohmiller, Western Mass News, Oct 4, 2018

» After Massachusetts explosions, Columbia Gas to pay for customers to switch heating systems
By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, October 4, 2018

» After Dozens of Gas Explosions, a Community Looks for Alternatives to Natural Gas
Nearly 9,000 homes will be without heat for weeks after explosions linked to a failing pipeline. The company is offering to help people leave natural gas entirely.
By Phil McKenna, InsideClimate News, October 3, 2018

» Longmeadow considering moratorium on Columbia Gas construction, citing recent explosions
By Elise Linscott, MassLive, October 3, 2018

» After Baker tasked Eversource with Merrimack Valley response, executives cut checks to his campaign
By Matt Stout, Boston Globe, October 2, 2018

» Officials ‘hell-bent’ on restoring gas service across Valley by Nov. 19; here’s the plan
By Zoe Mathews and Lisa Kashinsky, Eagle Tribune, October 2, 2018

» State rep seeks Western Massachusetts public hearings on Columbia Gas after Merrimack Valley explosions
By Peter Goonan, MassLive, October 1, 2018

» Disaster could be a turning point in energy debate
‘Do we want to be spending that much to revamp an ancient system?’
By Christian M. Wade, Eagle Tribune, September 30, 2018

» Crews to begin installing new gas appliances in Andover
By Andrew Masse, Western Mass News, September 30, 2018

» Emergency Loans Available For Businesses Hurt By Merrimack Valley Gas Blasts
By The Associated Press, WBUR, September 28, 2018

» Two dozen Merrimack Valley residents file explosion lawsuit against Columbia Gas
By Travis Andersen, Boston Globe, September 28, 2018

» Columbia Gas seeks translators for recovery effort
Eagle Tribune, September 27, 2018

» “Merrimack Valley businesses hit hard by gas explosion disaster”
By Colin A. Young, State House News Service, September 26, 2018

» Massachusetts DPU to hire independent evaluator to look at natural gas safety statewide
By Shira Schoenberg, MassLive, September 26, 2018

» AG Healey announces hotline, other resources
By Lisa Kashinsky, Eagle Tribune, September 25, 2018

» Cold realities
Space heater distribution begins with hiccups and confusion
By Zoe Mathews, Eagletribune.com, September 24, 2018

» Columbia Gas struggles to fill jobs at fair
Alexi Cohan, Boston Herald, September 23, 2018

» How Atmos Energy’s natural gas keeps blowing up Texas homes (while customers pay the tab)
By Cary Aspinwall and Holly K. Hacker, Dallas News, September 23, 2018

» Gas infrastructure in Mass.: A recipe for disaster?
By Kay Lazar and Jon Chesto, Boston Globe, September 22, 2018

» National Guard members deliver hot plates to Lawrence residents
By John Hilliard, Boston Globe, September 22, 2018

» Sen. Ed Markey: Columbia Gas is ‘making this up as they’re going along’
By Shira Schoenberg, MassLive, September 21, 2018

» Feds Warned Mass. Had Too Few Inspectors in Weeks Before Merrimack Valley Blasts
By Ally Donnelly, Boston 10, NBC, September 21, 2018

» Baker, Columbia Gas unveil massive recovery plan
By Milton J. Valencia, Matt Rocheleau and Laura Crimaldi, Boston Globe
September 21, 2018

» Columbia Gas Hopes To Have Service Restored By November 19
WBZ CBS Boston, September 21, 2018

» Columbia Gas Aims To Have All Gas Service Restored In Merrimack Valley By Nov. 19: Hotplates and space heaters will be distributed
WBUR, September 21, 2018

» Mass. AG Healey requests investigation into National Grid pipeline safety, DPU cites ongoing investigation into company
By Mary C. Serreze, MassLive, September 21, 2018

» Columbia Gas has a plan for speedy pipe replacement. Is it safe?
By Matt Rocheleau and Milton Valencia, Boston Globe
September 20, 2018

» It Could Be Months Before Gas Service Is Fully Restored In The Merrimack Valley
by Bruce Gellerman, WBUR, September 20, 2018

» Columbia Gas withdraws $33 million rate increase
By Jon Chesto, Boston Globe, September 19, 2018

» Who’ll pay to rebuild Columbia Gas network? Maybe the customers
By Jon Chesto, Botson Globe, September 18, 2018

» Columbia Gas donates $10 million to disaster relief fund
by Zoe Mathews, Eagle Tribune September 18, 2018

» Class action lawsuit filed against Columbia Gas, accused of ‘extreme negligence’ in care of pipeline
By Michelle Williams, MassLive, September 18, 2018

» In wake of gas disaster, Gonzalez says he’d sweep out state utility board
By Matt Murphy, State House News Service, Reprinted in Gloucester Times
September 18, 2018

» Pipe pressure before gas explosions was 12 times too high
Officials are seeking answers from the heads of Columbia Gas about the Merrimack Valley explosions, which led to one death and dozens of injuries.
By AP, Reprinted in Boston.com
September 18, 2018

» Pressure inside Columbia Gas pipes was 12 times higher than normal
By Matt Rocheleau, Boston Globe, September 17, 2018 

» Tsongas: Federal Investigation Underway Into ‘Terrifying’ Response From Columbia Gas
By Tori Bedford, WGBH Radio, September 17, 2018

» Local officials keeping wary eye on Columbia Gas
By Mary Whitfill, The Patriot Ledger
September 16, 2018

» ‘It’s very hard to tell them we are homeless.’ Mass. town’s struggles exacerbated by natural gas disaster
By Frances Stead Sellers, Karen Weintraub and Gabe Souza, Washington Post
September 15, 2018

» ‘I’m Just Glad We’re Alive’: Gas Leak Leaves Thousands Displaced and Afraid
By Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, September 15, 2018

» Gas workers, firefighters investigating new gas odor in South Lawrence
WCVB, September 15, 2018

» AG Healey: natural gas explosion victims should document their losses
WCVB, September 15, 2018

» Merrimack Valley gas disaster similar to 1990 Danvers emergency 
By Kelsey Bode, Salem News, September 15, 2018

» The City of Lawrence Can’t Breathe.
by Beya J. (Beyazmin Jimenez), Medium.com, September 15, 2018

» Rupture a repeat of West Virginia blast: Columbia Gas-affiliated co. behind 2012 incident
by Brian Dowling, Boston Herald, September 15, 2018

» Massachusetts explosions: Owner of Columbia Gas linked to three prior gas line blasts
By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY, September 15, 2018

» Natural gas industry faces new test after Merrimack Valley fires
By Jon Chesto, Boston Globe,  September 14, 2018

» ‘We’re talking weeks:’ Merrimack Valley faces long restoration process, officials warn
WCVB, September 14, 2018

» Massachusetts gas explosions shine spotlight on century-old pipelines
Tim McLaughlin, Reuters, September 14, 2018

» Natural gas explosions: Boston-area gas pipes among oldest and leakiest in US
by John Kelly, USA TODAY, September 14, 2018

» Explosions’ cause unclear, but specialists point to gas pressure
David Abel, Boston Globe
September 14, 2018

» Senators Markey and Warren Call for Congressional Hearing on Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions and Fires
Office of Senator Ed Markey, September 14, 2018

» State Of Emergency Declared; Lawrence Mayor Says Gas Company ‘Hiding From The Problem’
CBS Local – Boston, September 14, 2018

» Baker declares state of emergency, puts Eversource in charge of recovery
Boston Globe, September 14, 2018

» After Massachusetts Gas Explosions, Weary Residents Ask, What Happened?
By Katharine Q. Seelye and Farah Stockman, New York Times
September 14, 2018

» Natural gas industry faces new test after Merrimack Valley fires
By Jon Chesto, Boston Globe
September 14, 2018

» What Caused The Gas Explosions In The Merrimack Valley?
By Mary Blake, WGBH, September 14, 2018

» 1 dead, at least 10 injured in Merrimack Valley gas disaster
The Eagle-Tribune, September 14, 2018

» Massachusetts Gas Explosions Recall 1992 Chicago Incident
By Phil Rogers, NBC Chicago, September 14, 2018

» East Boston Gas Explosion, 1983
by CelebrateBoston.com

» Map: Location of the fires, explosions, gas odors in Lawrence area
Boston Globe, September 13, 2018

» Statement From Columbia Gas Regarding Merrimack Valley Explosions
CBS Local, September 13, 2018
*Despite title, Columbia Gas did not make a statement. Statements from many local leaders and Governor, though

» Andover, North Andover, Lawrence schools cancel classes in wake of gas fires
Eagle Tribune, September 13, 2018

» Dozens of gas blasts rock Boston suburbs, killing at least one and injuring others
Eagle Tribune, September 13, 2018

» Dozens of Homes Burn in Andover and Lawrence, Mass., Gas Explosions
By Katharine Q. Seelye, Farah Stockman, Jacey Fortin and Monica Davey
New York Times, September 13, 2018



NOTES:

Locals affected should dial 211 for disaster info.

MSPCA at Nevins Farm is sheltering animals displaced by the explosions. They have updated information on their Facebook page.

• A citizen activist noted that the last time the DPU did a report on a gas explosion associated with Columbia Gas in 2012, they redacted any information on the pressure on the line.
» Download report here

Emergency Response Plan Columbia Gas filed this year with the DPU

• Several hours after the explosions first erupted, reporters asked Governor Baker: “Has Columbia Gas been responsive to you? Are you satisfied what they’ve done so far?” He initially classified their response as “adequate”, before redefining everyone’s response as “incomplete”.
» Watch response on Twitter