By Louisa Moller

LAWRENCE (CBS) – Hundreds of people impacted by Friday’s gas leak in Lawrence lined up at a claims center behind St. Patrick Church on Monday.

Some said they were seeking reimbursements for spoiled food after their power was shut off early Friday morning.

“I had just done my groceries like two days before but I lost everything. And, I get food stamps and I don’t get them for another week,” resident Maureen Ryan said.

Many described a sense of déjà vu after experiencing the gas explosions that rocked the Merrimack Valley just over a year ago.

“We were like half asleep, half awake. We didn’t know what was going on. It was like pitch black and everything. We got nervous and everything,” resident Alicia Trinidad said.

Columbia Gas officials said Friday’s leak was caused when a water contractor inadvertently turned off a gas valve and punctured a gas main.

The leak occurred Friday just after 3 a.m. and most residents were allowed home by Friday afternoon.

On Monday,Columbia Gas spokesman Scott Ferson said gas had been restored to everyone. Ferson also tried to reassure residents.

“The event that happened last year is impossible to happen again because of the surge protectors that are on each one of their homes and their properties but I completely understand the psychological toll that was taken when you went through this last year and you were woken up a couple of days ago a four o’clock in the morning,” he said.

For anyone who missed the pop-up claims center, a continually running claims center is open at 439 S. Union Street in Lawrence.

Louisa Moller


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