- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Media Contact for Public Safety Officials Announce Update on Phase One Recovery Efforts, Allow Evacuated Residents To Return Home at 7AM
Christopher Besse, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
LAWRENCE — As of 7:00 AM today, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and public safety officials announced that residents previously evacuated in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence are now cleared to return to their homes. Recovery operations related to the Columbia Gas line incident that occurred on September 13th remain ongoing, and phase one of the process is nearly complete to turn off nearly 8,600 impacted meters, clear homes of gas and restore electricity.
As of 6:30 AM, all impacted gas meters have been checked and cleared by gas utility officials. Approximately 15,000 power outages have been restored by electrical utility officials, and remaining homes to be restored within the hour. State and local public safety partners and utility companies continue to work on accessing and clearing the small percentage of remaining homes with outstanding issues and will be available to assist residents this morning.
Gas service will take longer to restore due to the additional steps involved in the restoration process including Phase 2 (assessing the damage to the low pressure gas system) and Phase 3 (technicians inspecting all gas equipment from the meter, where gas enters a building, and throughout a building to all the appliances.)
Safety Tips for Returning to an Affected Property
- Even if your house is deemed safe to return, your gas and electrical services may not be restored yet.
- When residents return to their homes, they are asked to be vigilant. If you smell gas or smoke, notice damage to gas appliances, or other potential emergency situations, step outside and call 9-1-1. Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working.
- Do not attempt to use any gas appliances until gas service has been safely restored by the gas company.
- If your gas meter has been shut off by either the gas company or you, DO NOT attempt to turn your service back on yourself. Please contact the gas company for assistance; they will send a technician to turn it back on.
- If you smell an odor of natural gas,
- Leave the building immediately and move to a safe location
- Call 911 from outside the building and call the Columbia Gas emergency number at 1-800-525-8222.
- Do not turn off gas to your house or to any appliances.
- Do not try to find the leak yourself or operate pipeline valves.
- Do not touch light switches or use any appliances that could cause a spark, including telephones.
- Do not light matches or candles.
- Community websites:
- Columbia Gas website including FAQs: https://www.columbiagasma.com/en/merrimack-valley-incident
- If you need non-emergency assistance or information, including shelter information call 2-1-1. Call 9-1-1 for emergencies.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, and those who may need additional assistance.
Recovery Resource Center
A Recovery Resource Center (RRC) will open today at the Arlington Middle School, located at 150 Arlington St, Lawrence. This center will be collocated with the existing emergency shelter at this location. The Recovery Resource Center will be staffed by representatives of key local and state agencies and will provide services and programs to meet the needs of residents of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover who were impacted by Thursday’s Columbia Gas line incident. The RRC will be open Sunday, September 16, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM and Monday, September 17, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.