ANDOVER (CBS) — “It’s hard to run a restaurant without hot water and heat, right?” said Gov. Charlie Baker Wednesday. In a closed-door meeting, he met with Andover’s small business owners and local leaders to discuss the impact of the Thursday’s gas explosions and fire in Merrimack Valley.

“Most of those businesses were not talking about themselves they were talking about there employees,” said Baker.

govbaker Gov. Charlie Baker Meets With Small Business Owners In Andover

Gov. Charlie Baker after talking with small business owners in Andover (WBZ-TV)

While Columbia Gas says gas services have been restored to 6,300 of the 7,900 customers in the non-impacted area, thousands are still without service and restoration could take weeks.

For 67 restaurants in Andover’s impacted area alone, restoration cannot come fast enough — but no one really knows how long it will take.

“Over the course of the next several days, we will be laying out the plan with regard to damage assessment and mitigation,” said Baker.

The owner of Carleen’s Coffee Shop John Farrington has been struggling since Thursday.

lawrencecoffeeshopowner Gov. Charlie Baker Meets With Small Business Owners In Andover

John Farrington (WBZ-TV)

“It should’ve been 100 customers around here all talking to each other, having a good time. Giving the waitresses a hard time and the waitresses doing the same,” Farrington said.

Instead, Carleen’s is empty.

“They are talking 50 miles of gas piping in three months. That has to be 50 or 60 teams of people digging up the road to get that much done.  I don’t know how that’s going to happen here,” said Farrington.

Columbia Gas Claim Centers are open in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. Representatives can provide short-term financial relief and file a claim to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses.

Michelle Fisher


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