LAWRENCE (CBS) — Merrimack Valley residents affected by the September 2018 explosions will start seeing their money from the settlement with Columbia Gas soon. Lawyers announced that checks averaging over $8,000 per household for those who sought a lump-sum payment will be mailed on Friday, ahead of schedule.

A judge approved the settlement in the $143 million class action lawsuit back in March. The gas explosions in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover killed one person, injured dozens, destroyed over 100 buildings and took a toll on the local economy.

“Getting this first round of checks out now rather than at the end of June will give a desperately needed lifeline to thousands of families during the Covid-19 shutdown,” said plaintiffs’ lawyers John Roddy of Bailey & Glasser, Frank Petosa of Morgan & Morgan, and Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhofer in a statement. “The gas explosions crushed the local economy in Merrimack Valley, and these payments are a critical part of making the community whole again.”

Some claimants still need to provide proof that they lived in the affected area at the time of the explosions. If they are able to do so, they will get their payment in June.

The lawyers said checks for itemized personal and business claimants are due to be mailed in September because they take longer to review.