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Gas company settles with three Massachusetts towns for $80 million over 2018 explosions

09 May 2019

On May 7, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts said it had reached a settlement with three communities in the state’s Merrimack Valley after explosions and fires ripped through dozens of homes there last year, killing one person and injuring several more.The blasts on September 13 forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

Columbia Gas, whose parent company is NiSource, announced a settlement with the municipalities under which it will pay $80 million to cover costs associated with infrastructure repair and other expenses.
Most of the money is earmarked for road repairs, and the rest is for expense reimbursement and claimed losses. About half of the total will go to Lawrence, where more people were affected by the blasts.
The settlement is for the municipalities only and is separate from any individual claims involving injuries or personal losses. Columbia Gas has settled with at least one family whose members were injured because of the explosions, according to local news sources.

Last October, the National Transportation Safety Board said that an investigation found that Columbia Gas was replacing ageing cast iron gas pipes without proper safety supervision when high pressure gas flooded the network, causing the explosions and fires.

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