LAWRENCE (CBS/AP) — A U.S. Senate committee is holding a hearing in Massachusetts to review the response to the natural gas pipeline explosions in the Merrimack Valley.
Democratic Sen. Ed Markey says the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a full committee hearing Monday in the South Lawrence East Middle School gymnasium.
Among those scheduled to appear are the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board; Steve Bryant, president of Columbia Gas; and Joe Hamrock, president of Columbia’s parent company, NiSource.
The hearing will be available for live online viewing at the Commerce Committee website and translated into Spanish.
“My father is from Lawrence. I’m going right back to where my father grew up,” Markey said. “I want to make sure all of those people are made whole. This is personal for me. I don’t want those people to have to suffer unnecessarily.”
Melanie Antolick, who was forced out of her home and into temporary housing due to the blasts, has one main question.
“I want to know who’s responsible for all of this,” she said. “It’s been really hard considering that we have propane here and sometimes in the middle of the night it shuts off and they have to come and change the tank. So that’s really inconvenient for us to wake up at 4 a.m. with no heat.”
The hearing will focus on responses to the Sept. 13 explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover that killed one, injured about two dozen, and damaged more than 100 structures.
Area first responders like Andover Fire Chief Mike Mansfield will testify at the hearing on Monday.
“I think it says a lot that there are a lot of people concerned about the natural gas infrastructure not only in the Commonwealth but nationwide. Hopefully they have their listening ears on and we can get some changes in the industry to make it much safer for the communities that have natural gas infrastructure in them.”
Antolick, meanwhile, shared the sentiment of many residents who were impacted by the disaster.
“I hope it never happens again,” she said.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)