LAWRENCE (CBS) – Most South Lawrence residents displaced from gas explosions can expect to get back into their homes by 7 a.m. Sunday.

That’s what Gov. Charlie Baker said during a briefing Saturday night, noting that crews are working around-the-clock to inspect homes and restore electricity.

“We expect to have the vast majority of homes done and cleared for gas tonight and the entire effort of Phase 1 substantially complete overnight,” Baker said during a briefing Saturday night.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker gives a briefing on the restoration efforts after gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley. (WBZ-TV)

Crews have inspected more than 5,000 homes to date.

Hundreds of gas workers from more than a dozen companies and several states are in Massachusetts helping with the recovery effort, Baker said.

On Friday, Baker declared a state of emergency in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. This allowed the Department of Public Utilities to replace Columbia Gas with Eversource as the lead in recovery efforts.

“While we all know that there’s a lot more work left to do, we’re starting to make some progress,” Baker said.

A home on Chickering Road in Lawrence exploded Sept. 13, 2018. The chimney crushed an SUV, killing Leonel Rondon. (WBZ-TV)

The governor described three phases of the restoration efforts.

The first phase is getting people back into homes safely and restoring electricity; the second phase is assessing damage to the gas system following the explosions, and the third phase is technicians and experts “inspecting every piece of equipment,” including gas meters.

A Columbia Gas worker checks a gas meter, Sept. 14, 2018. (WBZ-TV)

“None of that work will be easy and will require massive numbers of personnel,” Baker said.

The governor urged residents should remain vigilant while returning to their home and they should take notice of any damage they see.

If you see damages or smell anything suspicious, call 911.


Leave a Reply