BROOKLINE (CBS) – Gas crews were back on busy Route 9 a day after people luckily dodged several explosive manhole covers that went flying, one into an office window. National Grid spokesperson Christine Milligan said while crews were investigating, they found several nearby gas leaks, which are now being repaired. She said they do not appear to be related to the explosions.
Some experts say it’s set-up for more potential disasters. “Anyone who’s walked or driven down Route 9, smells the gas every single day,” said Nathan Phillips, an environmental scientist and professor at Boston University. He’s tracked thousands of gas leaks throughout the state, and recently wrote a report with Sarah Griffith, who’s with a group called Gas Leaks Allies.
Asked if it could happen again, Griffith nodded her head. “Absolutely. We’ve got very old cast iron and rod iron pipes. We’ve got old steel pipes that corrode underground,” she said.
National Grid is working with electric company Eversource to investigate what caused the explosions. It’s the second time it’s happened in Brookline this year. In May on nearby Hammond Street, as many as a dozen explosions were reported.
“There are a series of old leaking gas pipelines that run down Route 9, and they connected with the old leaking gas pipelines that run down Hammond Street,” said Phillips.
That has residents concerned they could live in a manhole explosion hot spot. “All of the sudden we heard this explosion…the next thing we know, overhead we hear the helicopters, sirens going on. It was scary,” said Deane Coady, who lives around the corner. She spent Thursday afternoon on a conference call with her group Mothers Out Front. They’ve been fighting for years to get the gas leaks addressed. “We were not surprised at all,” she said. “It’s terribly scary of course when it happens in your back yard practically, but we’re not surprised.”
Milligan said the manholes that exploded last night have not shown positive readings for gas since about 9:30 Wednesday, a few hours after the explosions happened.