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Thu Sep 13, 2018, 05:41 PM

Multiple Suspected Gas Explosions In Lawrence, Andover And North Andover

Source: CBS News, Boston Local

LAWRENCE (CBS) – Residents in three communities north of Boston are being asked to evacuate their homes after there were multiple explosions and fires.

An issue with a high pressure gas main has affected Lawrence, North Andover and Andover. Anyone who has gas service from Columbia Gas is being told to leave their homes until further notice.

“What we know is that there have been multiple explosions, multiple fires that are happening across the city,” Rivera told WBZ. “What we need folks to do is that if it’s happening in your home, you have a funny smell, just evacuate, come out to the street.”

WBZ-TV’s Kristina Rex says Andover Police sent out an automated phone call telling residents to evacuate their homes and turn off the gas."



Read more: https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/09/13/lawrence-fires-explosions-gas-main/



Just got home and turned on the local news to this. They are saying up to 50 structures are on fire from gas explosions in the area. People have been asked to evacuate their homes. Apparently it is some kind of issue with the gas pressure building up in the pipe lines. There is so much smoke that you can't even see the sky.

I haven't heard of any deaths yet, just injuries, but the situation is still developing. Very tragic.

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Arrow 44 replies Author Time Post
Reply Multiple Suspected Gas Explosions In Lawrence, Andover And North Andover (Original post)
smirkymonkey Sep 13 OP
PatSeg Sep 13 #1
smirkymonkey Sep 13 #3
PatSeg Sep 13 #9
curlyred Sep 13 #2
smirkymonkey Sep 13 #5
sheshe2 Sep 13 #11
smirkymonkey Sep 13 #13
sheshe2 Sep 13 #15
dixiegrrrrl Sep 13 #27
flyingfysh Sep 13 #4
smirkymonkey Sep 13 #8
barbtries Sep 13 #17
LisaM Sep 13 #20
Mopar151 Sep 13 #32
Bernardo de La Paz Sep 13 #6
PatSeg Sep 13 #7
truthisfreedom Sep 13 #10
Xipe Totec Sep 13 #12
LisaM Sep 13 #14
rickford66 Sep 13 #16
LisaM Sep 13 #19
eggplant Sep 13 #24
csziggy Sep 13 #28
ProfessorGAC Sep 14 #37
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 14 #39
csziggy Sep 14 #40
ProfessorGAC Sep 14 #41
dewsgirl Sep 13 #30
The_jackalope Sep 13 #18
Stuart G Sep 13 #21
Strelnikov_ Sep 13 #22
bucolic_frolic Sep 13 #23
elmac Sep 13 #25
bucolic_frolic Sep 13 #26
elmac Sep 13 #29
smirkymonkey Sep 13 #31
Rhiannon12866 Sep 14 #33
KY_EnviroGuy Sep 14 #34
Eugene Sep 14 #35
FailureToCommunicate Sep 14 #36
MissMillie Sep 14 #38
FailureToCommunicate Sep 14 #42
brooklynite Sep 14 #43
Rhiannon12866 Sep 16 #44

Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 05:45 PM

1. I just heard about this an hour ago

My son and his wife know people who live in the area.

I've never heard of anything quite like it. Really terrifying.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 05:56 PM

3. I know! Can you imagine if homes just started blowing up all over your

neighborhood? What a nightmare!

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:10 PM

9. It must be like being in a war zone,

not knowing where the next explosion will be.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 05:52 PM

2. CNN has a map up on their site

with locations of confirmed explosions. Scary shit.

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Response to curlyred (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 05:58 PM

5. It's quite widespread.

I've never seen anything like this. It's amazing that there are no reported fatalities yet.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #5)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:31 PM

11. Just now.

60-100 fires now. Lawrence, Andover, No Andover...possibly two more. All electricity to be cut in the first three towns.

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Response to sheshe2 (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:35 PM

13. Wow! It's out of control!

I thought they cut the gas lines too? Are the fires spreading from home to home? Those poor people. I can't imagine what a nightmare it must be for them.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #13)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:46 PM

15. The news is coming so fast, just heard electricity cut...

And they keep cutting to Florence. No...I don't think it is spreading home to home. Individual explosions.

The east coast is fire and water right now. Dear Goddess!

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #13)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 08:41 PM

27. They are depressurizing the gas lines, but that takes a lot of time. n/t

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 05:57 PM

4. This may be related to a labor dispute?

I heard that the gas company locked out workers as part of a contract dispute, and brought in temporary workers. If so, the replacements may not have known what they were doing. I haven't found any links with the facts about that yet.

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Response to flyingfysh (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:07 PM

8. Interesting. That is the first I have heard of this.

Looks like a major lawsuit could be in the gas company's future.

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Response to flyingfysh (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:50 PM

17. i saw a blurb somewhere

said high pressure lines being attached to low pressure homes. coulda been twitter

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Response to flyingfysh (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 07:04 PM

20. Here, maybe this is it


https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2018/06/26/national-grid-locks-out-more-than-1-000-gas.html



Steel unions Local 12003 and Local 12012 said National Grid failed to negotiate "a fair contract that recognizes the crucial services these workers provide across Massachusetts." The locked out gas workers cover more than 85 cities and towns across Massachusetts.

"National Grid continues to push proposals that threaten public safety and drive down wages. The proposed cuts come as National Grid seeks tens of millions of dollars from Massachusetts consumers in its upcoming rate case, and as the company received a major tax cut from the Trump Administration," union spokespeople said in a statement.

The unions argues that any replacement of experienced gas workers with outside contractors, whether temporarily for a lockout or long-term, poses a safety threat to the public due to the dangerous nature of working with live gas lines.

National Grid said in a statement that "safe and reliable natural gas service will continue" despite the lockout.

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Response to flyingfysh (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 11:21 PM

32. Serious bad news.

National Grid was pretty good at making houses fly with their regular crews. How many of the lockouts are working for the contractors, how many useless moron not-quite-strikebreakers?

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:04 PM

6. 8 people died in the San Bruno, California, gas pipeline explosion in 2010

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:07 PM

7. That was the only story

I can recall that was similar. This seems more widespread and all people in the area who are customers of this gas company are told to evacuate.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:13 PM

10. Home gas lines are supposed to be just a few psi of pressure

I can’t imagine what would happen if the pressure delivered to homes suddenly shot up!

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:31 PM

12. I worked for one of the gas transportation companies some decades ago

We had a line blow up in Katy, Tx. There was a pillar of fire coming from the site of the explosion that was 100s of feet high. There's so much gas on the lines, and at such high pressure, that almost an hour elapsed before the pipeline pressure monitors began to register a drop in pressure.

The gas is compressed to near the triple point for methane, meaning the gas is close to the solid, liquid, and gaseous state. Any water vapor in the line instantly combines with the gas to form a solid methane hydrate.

The pressure on those lines is mind boggling.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:41 PM

14. This is why I don't want a gas stove.

I know they're great to cook on, and I have, but I have nightmares about situations like this.

How's that de-regulation going, Trump?

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Response to LisaM (Reply #14)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:47 PM

16. Your city home may still have an old gas line.

My parent's old house (built around 1860's) had old lines for gas lights in the walls. They appeared to be just capped off. They still had a gas water heater and clothes dryer so I assume there was gas in those old lines.

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Response to rickford66 (Reply #16)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 07:00 PM

19. I'm actually in an apartment now

but that's good to remember if I'm ever back in a house.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #14)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 08:31 PM

24. LP doesn't suffer from this problem.

But then again, you can run out.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #14)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 08:46 PM

28. Even without gas lines blowing up I don't trust gas appliances

One place I rented, the pilot light would not stay lit on the stove. I was told to light a wooden match, put it next to the hole to light the oven, and close the door. Well, when I did that the oven blew up! Not actually, but it filled up with gas, then caught, and blew the door out. In that small kitchen the prep counter was close enough that the door hit me in the hip and I had a huge bruise for a couple of weeks.

I have not lived in a home with gas appliances since. The house we built ten years ago is entirely electric and since we're in the country there are no gas lines within ten miles. I feel much safer now.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #28)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 06:33 AM

37. Almost No Appliances Have Pilot Lights Anymore

We are all gas. Stove, dryer, water heater, home heat. They're are all spark ignited. When the demand valve opens a sparker fires. A thermocouple reads a rise in heat (meaning there is a live heater fire) and the sparker turns off.

There is timer in the logic that if the thermocouple doesn't detect heat within a few seconds, it shuts the gas valve again.

Some of our stuff is "newish" but the water heater is at least 15 years old and it works the same way.

The concern you expressed, completely valid, has been engineered out of most systems like that today.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #37)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 10:16 AM

39. bookmarking for comment later

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #37)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 10:32 AM

40. My experience was nearly forty five years ago

Long before the spark ignited technology was introduced to home appliances.

And that stove was much older than that. When my roommate moved into that rental house, there was no stove in the kitchen. He found that one in the backyard, brought it in and with the help of friends cleaned it up. Mostly it worked, but I never used it again - made do with the hot plate and toaster over I had used in the dorm.

I already had a nervousness about fire - as a child I had gotten third degree burns on one foot. Between that and the stove incident I want no fires in my house!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #40)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 10:42 AM

41. I Wasn't Disputing It, Ziggy

I've heard of it happening as well. It's one of the reasons why manufacturers started engineering solutions. Trying to prevent bummers like what you experienced.

Even before sparkers or silica carbide hotspots, they started doing things like adding a mercury capsule where the heat of the pilot expanded the fluid enough to conduct a voltage. If that voltage failed (because no pilot heat, no conductance) the fail closed gas valve would shut. Some even used a bimetal that would shrink with no heat and mechanically pull back a bobbitt that would shut off the gas.

Those sort of things are still on the pilotless systems too to prevent the gas from flowing if there is no spark or hotspot.

Was just commenting that the kind of thing you experienced if far less likely because of these added safety features. That said, nothing is impossible.

Last point: Another problem is pilot lights is that they are waste of gas. The thing is burning 24/365. But, there is no real benefit from it. At least with the newer systems, there is zero gas flowing until one is actually using the range or oven.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #14)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 09:28 PM

30. Gas stoves scare the hell out of me.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 06:56 PM

18. I photographed a similar incident 45 years ago in London, Ontario in Canada

http://londonfirefighters.ca/gas-explosions/

The Oxford Park Gas Explosions of August 7, 1973.

While doing some repair work in this west London neighbourhood, a backhoe operator accidentally destroyed a gas line regulator. The increased pressure turned furnaces and gas stoves in neighbouring homes into bombs. Ten houses exploded and burned while an additional 40 were damaged. 3,000 homes were evacuated. Miraculously, there were no fatalities. PHOTO: From the book, The History of the London Fire Department: Heroes, Helmets and Hoses

I went into the neighborhood after the fires were out. It was eerie, seeing empty basements with bare, blackened stairways coming up out of them.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 07:43 PM

21. 25 to 30 miles north of Boston is where this is.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 07:59 PM

22. Centralia, MO

http://www.gendisasters.com/missouri/18442/centralia-mo-natural-gas-line-explosions-jan-1982

A state of emergency was in effect today after 28 homes and businesses burst into flames within seconds when the pressure in a natural gas line was kicked up accidentally, causing water heaters and furnaces to spit fire like
"blowtorches." Five people were injured Thursday in the fires, which started after a gas line regulator was hit by a backhoe at the power company.
. . .

Bill Hollander, a retired engineer, said "gas jets were blowing all over town ... those pilot lights were blowing like blowtorches."

The accident occurred when ALVIN JACOBS, a longtime city employee, was operating a backhoe whith a three-man crew near a Missouri Power and Light Co. building that houses our of four pressure regulators for the town's natural gas system, Knowles said.
The backhoe struck a gas line regulator, allowing high-pressure natural gas to shoot through low-pressure lines into homes across town. Although the high pressure may have caused some houses to explode, most caught fire when the flames shot out of water heaters and furnaces, authorities said. "I don't think anybody knew what was happening for a while," said Barney Wainscott, who had one son lose his home and another lose his insurance office.

"It seemed like everywhere you went there was a fire on either side of you," he said.
"We got that first call, and within minutes, maybe seconds, there were so many calls the phones couldn't handle it."
One of the 125 firefighters called from surrounding towns to fight the blazes said it
"was like somebody decided to make a movie about a whole town burning down."

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 08:05 PM

23. Are gas grids managed like electric grids - by software?

Hackers? I have no idea.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #23)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 08:37 PM

25. good question, I think this may help

The gate, where the local gas company distributes the gas,

The Distribution System
From the gate station, natural gas moves into distribution lines or "mains" that range from 2 inches to more than 24 inches in diameter. Within each distribution system, there are sections that operate at different pressures, with regulators controlling the pressure. Some regulators are remotely controlled by the utility to change pressures in parts of the system to optimize efficiency. Generally speaking, the closer natural gas gets to a customer, the smaller the pipe diameter is and the lower the pressure is.
The gas utility's central control center continuously monitors flow rates and pressures at various points in its system. The operators must ensure that the gas reaches each customer with sufficient flow rate and pressure to fuel equipment and appliances. They also ensure that the pressures stay below the maximum pressure for each segment of the system. Distribution lines typically operate at less than one-fifth of their design pressure.

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Response to elmac (Reply #25)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 08:40 PM

26. Thanks, sounds like parts of them are - regulators, some remotely controlled

whatever that means. Could be direct wire, wireless, phone cable ....

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 08:47 PM

29. cyber attack info

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Response to elmac (Reply #29)

Thu Sep 13, 2018, 10:07 PM

31. That is pretty terrifying.

I hope they find out what caused it soon. Can you imagine if this happened in a major metropolitan area?

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 02:35 AM

33. Updated story: Merrimack Valley Explosions: What We Know

LAWRENCE (CBS) – Large sections of multiple communities were evacuated Thursday afternoon after a series of gas explosions and fires. Here is the latest:

• Sections of South Lawrence, Andover and North Andover impacted
• The issue is related to a high pressure gas main, possibly over-pressurized
• An estimated 8,000 gas meters in that region, served by Columbia Gas, were affected; multi-unit homes have multiple gas meters
• All residents of South Lawrence, regardless of utility provider, were asked to evacuate
• Andover residents south of Rt. 28 and Salem street were allowed to return home early Friday
• Emergency crews going door to door to turn off gas at each home
• Lawrence, Andover and North Andover leaders say there is no timeline on when residents can return
• Power shut off to South Lawrence, parts of Andover and North Andover. This includes traffic lights
• An 18-year-old man has died. At least 25 people injured
• 60-80 fires and 3 explosions, according to MEMA
• 38 Fires extinguished in Andover alone, with 17 additional gas leaks
• 29 homes impacted in North Andover
• “It looked like Armageddon,” said Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield
• 10-alarm fire response in all 3 communities
• Fire and Police from across eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire responded
• Red Cross reception centers: Andover Senior Center and Youth Center, North Andover High School, Parthum and Arlington Schools in Lawrence, Central Catholic and St. Mary’s Church in Lawrence
• Residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover can call 211 for information
• Commuter Rail service on the Haverhill line suspended beyond North Wilmington
• All off ramps from I-495 between Exits 42-45 were closed; on ramps remained open
• No School in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover on Friday, including Catholic schools
• Merrimack College without power, but students are in dorms
• Lawrence Courts closed Friday
• Department of Pipeline Safety and NTSB involved in investigatin from federal level

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/09/14/merrimack-valley-gas-explosions-lawrence-north-andover/

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 03:24 AM

34. This will take a long time to fix.

Natural gas piping, valves, meters and appliances will have to be tested and/or inspected before placed back in service due to being over-pressured. Old, corroded underground lines may have developed leaks and those must be found and repaired. I certainly don't envy the gas company workers at this point, but commend their work toward getting this emergency under control.

If there's anything to be grateful for at this point, it's that this event didn't happen in the dead of winter.

Our thoughts go out to all those affected and to the family of the young man who lost his life........

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 06:07 AM

35. One dead in Massachusetts after gas explosions ignite dozens of fires

Source: The Guardian and agencies

One dead in Massachusetts after gas explosions ignite dozens of fires

Local police chief says 60 to 100 fires were burning in the area and several people were taken to hospital

Sarah Betancourt in Boston and agencies
Fri 14 Sep 2018 04.24 BST

One person died, several were injured and scores of Massachusetts residents were forced to evacuate their homes as dozens of fires raged following a series of gas explosions in three communities north of Boston.

Leonel Rondon, 18, was sitting in a car in Lawrence when the chimney from a house explosion fell on the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Residents with homes serviced by Columbia Gas in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were ordered to evacuate, causing widespread confusion as crews scrambled to fight the flames and shut off the gas.

Andover fire chief Michael Mansfield said: “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.”

-snip-


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/13/massachusetts-gas-explosions

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 06:30 AM

36. A cautionary tale for everyone. We live nearby this disaster and are anxiously following

developments. Many people are in hospital, some critical, at least one has died from injuries when their house literally blew up. A picture shows the top of a brick chimney crushed down on a car in the driveway...

The gas company, Columbia (not the one affected by striking workers) was due to begin upgrades to the area, but supposedly hadn't begun the process when somehow a main higher pressure supply line malfunctioned or something. We know more in the coming days.

But unlike the hurricane news we're all following there was no warning, no shelters ready for the thousands of residents who were ordered by police to leave the homes and evacuate immediately. Soon after the order to get out, as darkness fell, emergency workers shut down power to the areas in hopes of lessening the possibility of sparking even more explosions (even turning on a light, say to your basement to check out some gas smell can supposedly spark a conflagration if enough gas has seeped in from a loose fitting meant only to normally handle low pressure gas.

I say cautionary tale, because EVERYONE who uses gas in their home should know how to shut off the gas line where it enters your house and actually just keep a wrench taped to the pipe - it's usually a quarter turn of an line shut off valve. That's if you DON'T smell gas and have been ordered to leave. Tape a note on your door that you have shut off the gas. If you do smell gas (that icky mercaptinin smell they add) just get out fast.

Anyone in earthquake areas or like here in New England with blizzards, have been told be prepared to do this sort of thing over and over by authorities. But we may have become complacent, or figure it will never happen to us.

Please take a few moments to locate and know how to shut off your gas.

And maybe have a "go bag" ready for the time -god forbid- you get the word to get out of your home and neighborhood "IMMEDIATELY!"

Stay safe everyone. But be prepared to be safe as well, if possible.

Now back to the other storms happening in the South ...and in Washington D.C ...

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Response to FailureToCommunicate (Reply #36)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 09:39 AM

38. Thank you for the update and information. May I ask for one more update?

We have family and friends coming from Maine for an event tomorrow. We are wondering if they still need to avoid Rte. 495. I know they closed the off-ramps yesterday which caused quite the traffic jam. Are the off-ramps still closed, and if so is there any indication when they will be re-opened?

I tried to look this stuff up online, but couldn't find much.

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Response to MissMillie (Reply #38)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 01:22 PM

42. It still looks like off ramps are closed at Mass Ave (N. Andover), Salem Tpk, and Rt 28 in

Lawrence.

They have supposedly shut off gas to the area, so more explosions are unlikely, but avoiding those areas is still prudent. If your friends use WAZE they should get routing that helps them find alternative routes...

Good luck.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2018, 01:27 PM

43. I went to prep school for two years in North Andover...

School is closed today and boarding students are sheltering in place.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sun Sep 16, 2018, 03:41 AM

44. Update Saturday: New gas leak reported after explosions in Massachusetts

Sept. 15 (UPI) -- A new natural gas leak was reported in Lawrence, Mass., on Saturday morning, two days after explosions and fires rocked the city and other towns north of Boston.

At 11 a.m., the latest leak was confirmed, according to WBZ-TV. After a strong odor was reported, firefighters stopped people from walking in the area.

On Thursday, about 8,500 residents were forced to evacuate from their homes. Gas utility representatives are going door to door to shut off meters and check for residual gas within the home.

On Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced a state of emergency and handed over control of the response from Columbia Gas to Eversource for a "coordinated effort to safely restore utility services in South Lawrence, Andover and North Andover."


Read more: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/09/15/New-gas-leak-reported-after-explosions-in-Massachusetts/1861537036836/



This is destroyed home is where an 18-year-old was killed while sitting in a car in the driveway in Lawrence, Mass. A series of gas explosions rocked towns north of Boston and forced the mandatory evacuation of residents Thursday. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA

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