LAWRENCE (CBS) – Thousands of hotel rooms and hundreds of apartments and travel trailers will be available for Columbia Gas customers who still have no service after last month’s explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley.
The alternative housing plan was announced Friday by state and local authorities in an attempt to help people who won’t be able to stay in their homes without gas service as the weather starts to get colder.
Columbia Gas has vowed to restore all gas service to the affected customers in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover by November 19.
More than 3,000 hotel rooms have been reserved through mid-November for customers within 30 miles of their homes. Transportation assistance will be available, including Uber and Lyft.
More than 150 apartments and 360 travel trailers have also been leased. Customers will have an additional option of a warming center shelter at the old Malden Mills facility on Stafford Street in Lawrence.
Impacted Columbia Gas customers who want the alternative housing should call the claims line at 1-800-590-5571.
An over-pressurization in the lines of Columbia Gas on September 13 led to more than 80 explosions in homes in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. A young man was killed when one blast brought a chimney down onto his car.
At the peak of the disaster, about 10,000 homes had no gas service, heat or hot water.
On Friday, Massachusetts senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey said a review of the company’s internal documents showed Columbia Gas was “woefully unprepared” for the disaster.