BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of a deadly gas explosion in Merrimack Valley, and the family of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, who died in the incident, made their first donation from a memorial fund set up in his name.
Rondon’s family donated $5,000 in Leonel’s name to the Lawrence Fire Department, which will be used to purchase life-saving equipment.READ MORE: Massachusetts Reports 68 New COVID Cases, 5 Additional Deaths
Columbia Gas paid a $53 million criminal fine this past June for a series of gas explosions in September 2018 that killed Rondon and damaged over a hundred homes and businesses.
Rondon died in Lawrence when a chimney collapsed on his vehicle in the driveway of a friend’s home.
The incident occurred when overpressurized gas lines exploded and set several buildings ablaze. Columbia Gas pled guilty in federal court for causing the blasts.
“Today marks two years since the tragedy in Merrimack Valley, and on this solemn day, our hearts go out to the family of Leonel Rondon and all those who were injured, suffered, or had their lives disrupted,” said Columbia Gas of Massachusetts in a tweet on Sunday. “We carry the weight of these losses with us today and every day.”READ MORE: Gov. Baker Proposes Waiving Massachusetts Sales Tax For All Of August And September
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy sent out a tweet on behalf of the Rondon family:
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It's been 2 years since the Merrimack Valley gas explosions.
I'm thinking about Leonel Rondon and his family, and everyone who saw their communities go up in flames because of Columbia Gas.
We made sure they paid for their wrongs and that they never do business in MA again.
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) September 13, 2020
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)