50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

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50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:59 pm

70 buildings burning


BREAKING NEWS: At Least 50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston; Firefighters From Different States On The Way -

LIVE: Multiple Explosions, Fires Near Boston; First Responders Overwhelmed as Up To 100 Homes Burning
September 13, 201803291

Essex County, Massachusetts — (Scroll Down For Live Video) — First responders were overwhelmed as apparent gas explosions were ripping through homes in three Massachusetts towns Thursday.

Massive home explosions and fires were reported in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover–between 60 and 100 structures were burning. Police were also receiving dozens of calls reporting the odor of gas.

Officials in North Andover have officially ordered an evacuation for the entire town.

Merrimack College ordered students, faculty and staff to evacuate buildings on campus “immediately” out of an abundance of caution.

Officials believe the cause could be an over pressurization of a gas line which caused ruptures in multiple homes leading to leaks, explosions, and fires.

“Residents in the affected towns of Lawrence/North Andover/Andover who have gas service from Columbia Gas should evacuate their homes immediately,” police said. “Gas lines are currently being depressurized by the company it will take some time.” Adding, it’s “far too early to speculate on cause.”

The FBI in Boston said they will investigate out of an abundance of caution but said “there are no indications this incident is related to terrorism.”

Lawrence police Chief Roy Vasque said, “It’s bad. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Map Shows Confirmed Explosions, Fires In Lawrence and North Andover / MSP
Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon told a local news station there are so many fires “you can’t even see the sky.”

The government there has activated the Emergency Operations Center in response. Off-duty firefighters were responding in their personal vehicles to help in the rescue efforts.

Firefighters from as far as New Hampshire were called in to assist.
https://breaking911.com/breaking-3-enti ... exploding/

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Re: 50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:22 am

Thought provoking, isn't it. How does this over pressurization happen exactly. I guess we'll find out during the investigation.

Down here in N Texas there have been several explosions with fatalities due to aging infrastructure which they're in the process of replacing, and this happened only in the Garland suburb near Dallas. I can't imagine an event on the scale of what has happened in Boston, and my heart goes out to the victims and to those now living in fear that it will happen again.
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Re: 50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

Postby IanEye » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:30 pm

Yeah, commuting on 495 last night wasn't fun.
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Re: 50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

Postby Cordelia » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:11 am

It always surprises me that more people aren't injured or killed in a tragedy of this magnitude.

A damaged house on Jefferson Street, in Lawrence is seen Friday, Sept. 14

Leonel Rondón had just gotten his license and a chimney fell on his car. :(

Associated Press Friday, September 14, 2018

The teenager who died when a brick chimney dislodged by a gas explosion fell on his vehicle had received his driver's license just that day.

Authorities identified that victim of Thursday's series of explosions in Massachusetts as 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, of Lawrence.

The state Registry and Motor Vehicles and Rondon's friends say he had just received his license Thursday.

Christian Caraballo tells The Boston Globe he was in the vehicle when the chimney fell in the driveway of a friend's house. Three other young men in the vehicle got out and tried to move the chimney but couldn't.

Friends say Rondon was a senior at Lawrence High School.

http://www.bostonherald.com/sites/defau ... k=9-DBxCgA

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Re: 50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

Postby 82_28 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:25 am

I heard that the natural gas system is about 150 years old in some parts? Is this true? Not as huge, but something similar happened here a couple years ago.
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Re: 50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

Postby Cordelia » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:09 pm

82_28 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:25 am wrote:I heard that the natural gas system is about 150 years old in some parts? Is this true? Not as huge, but something similar happened here a couple years ago.

I remember reading about it in WaPo...Didn't it happen in a non-residential section in the very early hours, and nobody was hurt, but if it had exploded several hours later, it could have been very different?

67 years ago this month in Mass....

Brighton gas explosions

Bob Marcotte

Former D&C Editor

On Sept. 21, 1951, three people died, 40 were injured, 19 houses were destroyed and 25 others seriously damaged after an explosion in a gas-pressure regulating station at the Twelve Corners allowed natural gas to flow into houses at a much higher pressure than normal.

Shortly after 1:15 p.m., houses began exploding in rapid sequence in the Meadowbrook, Roselawn and Bel-Air tracts.

This photo from the Democrat and Chronicle archives shows one of the houses.

How did it happen? Investigators believe the deadly chain of events may have started when a sewer contractor set off a small dynamite charge within 350 feet of the vault where the pressure regulator was located. About 15 minutes later a worker noticed an odor of gas, but didn’t think it all that unusual. Fifteen minutes after that, a workman set out kerosene warning lanterns to keep people off a freshly paved sidewalk.

Within seconds an explosion occurred in the vault, jamming open the devices that regulate the pressure at which gas flows through the distribution mains.

Could it happen again?

No, RG&E officials have since explained, because of improved gas regulators in houses and better regulators and relief valves in the distribution system.

http://media.democratandchronicle.com/s ... k=z9J6K49p


LAWRENCE, Mass. — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) declared a state of emergency Friday as officials inspected more than 8,600 homes and businesses to determine if it was safe for people to return, a day after a series of gas line explosions left one person dead and injured at least 23.

The blasts, which led to scores of simultaneous structure fires across three towns in the Merrimack Valley, filled otherwise sunny skies with thick smoke and pushed thousands of residents out of their homes indefinitely. Electrical power has been cut to the communities, and residents have been told not to enter their homes until each one has been inspected for potential dangers.

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, which owns the gas lines involved in the blasts, has thus far given no indication of what might have caused the disaster. Baker and other officials, including Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, issued scathing criticisms of the company.

“Since yesterday, when we first got word of this incident, the least informed and the last to act have been Columbia Gas,” Rivera said, with Baker at his side at a news conference. He said that the company had promised “hundreds of teams of technicians” but that “none have materialized.”

MORE...https://www.washingtonpost.com/national ... 0de5727072
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Re: 50 Homes Are Now Burning In Communities Near Boston

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:24 pm

More than 8,000 customers forced to leave homes after mysterious gas explosions


Massachusetts explosions: Owner of Columbia Gas linked to three prior gas line blasts
Kevin McCoyUpdated 11:41 a.m. ET Sept. 15, 2018

A series of gas explosions killed a teenager, injured at least 10 other people and ignited fires in at least 39 homes in three communities north of Boston on Thursday. Authorities said Leonel Rondon, 18, died after a chimney fell on his car. (Sept. 14) AP

The corporate parent of the Massachusetts natural gas utility that's the focus of explosions and fires that killed one and injured an estimated 25 had links to three previous gas line blasts, a review of federal and state records and court filings shows.

The links emerged as Columbia Gas of Massachusetts scrambled to provide assistance and information to residents of Lawrence, North Andover, and other Merrimack Valley communities on Friday, one day after the tragedy.

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is the business name of Bay State Gas Company, according to a written summary of testimony that Stephen Bryant, the utility's president and chief operating officer, provided in April for a rate hike request submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

Incorporated in 1974, the company is one of seven natural gas distribution companies that are subsidiaries of NiSource, a publicly-traded holding company based in Merrillville, Indiana.

NiSource shares plunged in Friday trading, closing 11.7 percent lower at $24.79, one day after reaching a 52-week high.

Columbia Gas distributes natural gas to roughly 321,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in three Massachusetts areas centered in Lawrence, Springfield, and Brockton, Bryant said.

NiSource’s combined utility operations serve approximately 3.9 million customers in seven states and operate roughly 60,000 miles of distribution pipelines.

The Massachusetts tragedy has renewed public focus on the safety of natural gas pipelines and the companies that own and maintain them. Through its subsidiaries, NiSource had links to at least three gas line explosions in three states during the last six years, including another blast in Massachusetts.

A destroyed home on Chickering Street where authorities say Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, Mass., was killed while seated in his car in the driveway, is seen, Friday. Dozens of houses in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover caught fire from the natural gas explosions.
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Multiple fires, gas explosions north of Boston kills 1

Springfield, Massachusetts explosion

In November 2012, a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts service line explosion injured 21 and destroyed a building that housed the Scores strip club in Springfield, a city west of Boston. The blast heavily damaged roughly a dozen nearby buildings and blew out windows in others.

NiSource said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the gas service line was pierced, and an explosion occurred, "while Columbia of Massachusetts was investigating the source of an odor of gas."

Columbia Gas spokeswoman Andrea Luppi in 2014 told The Republican, a newspaper based in Springfield, that the company had paid millions of dollars to settle 84 percent of the damage claims filed by 832 individuals and companies.

Luppi acknowledged that the Springfield tragedy was the costliest incident in the company’s history at that time, the news organization reported.

The settlements included a $650,000 agreement to repay the city for property damage and other expenses. The utility also agreed to provide a $200,000 grant to the city for planning and urban renewal efforts.

More Money: Massachusetts governor declares state of emergency after fatal natural gas explosions, directs different utility to restore service

However, some Springfield residents and businesses that suffered from damage caused by the explosion sued Columbia Gas.

Julio and Evelyn Edwards, a local radio station, and a church organization filed a 2015 federal lawsuit that alleged the Edwards family members were left homeless, while the businesses were unable to operate for months. They sought $1.5 million in collective damages.

Massachusetts U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni dismissed the case in 2016 on legal technicalities. The plaintiffs mistakenly identified the utility in the lawsuit as Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.

The proper legal entity is Bay State Gas Company (doing business as) Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, the utility said. Additionally, the federal court lacked jurisdiction because the company and plaintiffs all were based in Massachusetts.

Russell Shaddock, the owner of the building that had housed the Scores strip club, filed a separate 2014 lawsuit in Hampden Superior Court seeking $1 million in damages from Columbia Gas. The Republican reported that a spokeswoman for the utility said Shaddock had not accepted settlements offered by the company.

Shaddock did not respond to a telephone message on Friday seeking comment about the case.

West Virginia pipeline blast

In December 2012 an interstate natural gas pipeline operated by Columbia Gas Transmission, another NiSource subsidiary at that time, exploded in Sissonville, West Virginia.

Escaping high-pressure gas from the 20-inch pipeline sparked a fire that destroyed three homes in the sparsely populated area, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report. The explosion also propelled a 20-foot section of the pipe more than 40 feet from its original location, the report said.

Two Columbia Gas operations personnel who were repairing a leak on a production pipeline about 4.75 miles from the accident location stated that "they could hear the roar from the releasing gas," the report added.

The ruptured pipe was part of a pipeline segment that was installed in 1967, the report said.

The NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the rupture was external corrosion of the pipe wall due to deteriorated coating. Additionally, the report cited the utility company's failure to detect the corrosion "because the pipeline was not inspected or tested after 1988."

Ohio Pipeline Explosion

A natural gas release from an "improperly abandoned" service line was responsible for a March 2015 explosion and fire, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio concluded in a report on the Upper Arlington disaster that caused $9 million in structural damage.

The report focused on the actions of Columbia Gas of Ohio, a NiSource subsidiary.

The state regulator's staff concluded that the gas line was installed at a home on Sunningdale Way in 1960, and was taken out of service between 1985 and 1997. However, the line was never disconnected from the gas main, and was not plugged or sealed, the report said.

"Columbia Gas did not follow their operation and maintenance procedure" with regard to the gas line, the regulator concluded.

The explosion occurred after Columbus Water Department employees went to the home to disconnect water service in preparation for planned plumbing work on a water leak. The workers mistakenly opened the gas valve box while doing the work, the report said.

As a result, gas flowed through the abandoned gas line, into the home, and around the neighborhood. A U.S. Postal Service employee reported a "strong smell of natural gas" while delivering mail on March 21.

However, the warning came too late to avoid the explosion and fire.

In 2016, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved an agreement that required Columbia Gas of Ohio to pay a $200,000 fine, improve its record keeping and enhance safety outreach in the utility's service territory.

Rate hike application

Separately, Columbia Gas is pursuing a gas rate hike request the utility filed in April with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The company's originally proposed $44.5 million distribution rate increase was reduced to $33.2 million in a tentative settlement agreement filed on Sept. 5.

Approval from the state regulator is required before any rate hikes can be imposed on utility customers.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... 302447002/
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