NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – Residents in North Andover were upset and left without answers after a brief meeting with representatives of Columbia Gas.
Friday morning, about 50 residents arrived thinking they would receive information a day after an over-pressurized gas line led to between 60-80 fires and three explosions within a short time frame in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.
Three Columbia Gas representatives arrived to meet with North Andover residents. They said they would writing down residents’ information and questions, but were not prepared to provide information at this point.
“We don’t have any answers right now,” a Columbia Gas employee said in response to one question.
Residents were asking questions such as “Is it safe to return to my home?” and “When will technicians come?” but were told their question was noted.
“It’s a difficult situation, and you guys really kind of just deflecting every question. It would be really helpful if you could just give us something to hold on to,” one man said.
“It’s not so much a deflection, it’s trying to answer these responsibly,” a Columbia Gas employee responded.
After about 15 minutes, residents became upset with a lack of answers. The gas company residents then left the area.
“There should be an actual representative here,” one man told WBZ-TV. “They can’t answer any of our questions. They’re just writing our questions down. It’s frustrating.”
Columbia Gas released a statement on Friday, saying it expects a lengthy restoration. The company said what happened in the Merrimack Valley was a “tragic incident.”
“We expect this will be an extended restoration effort, and we are working tirelessly to restore service to the affected customers,” the company said in its statement.
Customers are urged not to turn their gas back on. Instead, residents should contact Columbia Gas directly.
North Andover town manager Andrew Maylor had a message for frustrated residents.
“If your gas meter was shut off, you must call the gas company to turn it back on,” he said. “I know you may get impatient, we know there’s hang ups and long calls and messages that maybe they’re closed. They’re not closed. We’ve spoken to them. Hang on those calls, call back if you have to. Just don’t turn the meters back on. It’s a dangerous situation. We wouldn’t want you to do that.”