LAWRENCE (CBS) – Fire chiefs in the Merrimack Valley asked Columbia Gas in recent weeks to notify them every time they receive gas calls on their emergency lines after learning that the company was dealing with calls about gas odors without informing fire departments.

Columbia Gas is not legally required to notify the local fire department when it responds to carbon monoxide or gas odor calls. Andover Fire Chief Mike Mansfield said he believes the company should following the series of explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley.

“We felt that given what has gone on since Sept. 13, we should all be responding,” Mansfield told the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune.

Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty told WBZ-TV that residents were calling Columbia Gas instead of firefighters and he didn’t feel that was the right thing to do.

After discussing the issue in recent weeks, Columbia Gas agreed to inform fire departments when he receives calls to its emergency line.

Residents are also encouraged to call 911 rather than Columbia Gas if they smell gas in their home.

A young man was killed and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed in the September 13 explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. Many residents were without gas service into December.


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