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Lawrence Residents Allowed To Return Home Following Gas Leak

Gas service will be restored to all affected residents by evening, Columbia Gas said, and all electrical service has been restored.

by Rachel Nunes, Patch

Displaced Lawrence residents have been given the green light to return to their homes on Saturday afternoon following Friday's gas leak. Electricity has been restored to all residents and gas technicians are working to re-light gas in each home.

According to Columbia Gas spokesperson Scott Ferson, relighting began around 3 p.m. after all street work was finished. All homes are expected to be re-lit by 7:30 p.m.

Re-lighting must be done individually by technicians going house-to-house. Residents must be home for this to happen.

As of Saturday morning, 140 homes remained without service, and 31 hotel rooms were books by displaced residents on Friday night, Ferson said. Residents with questions about accommodations or claims are encouraged to call the claims line at 1-800-590-5571.

Throughout the morning, crews worked to inspect and repair 45 gas valves to ensure all were up to the Department of Public Utilities' standards following Friday's leak.

On Friday night, the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and Columbia issued an updated joint statement on the status of the gas leak, confirming that the leak was caused by human error.

"Early Friday morning while conducting a routine check of water valves in preparation of road paving, contractors working for the City of Lawrence inadvertently closed a gas valve, puncturing an active gas main," the statement read in part. "Preliminarily, it appears that this gas valve should have been disabled as part of pipeline reconstruction in 2018 and was not compliant with DPU standards."

On Friday morning, nearly 1,400 people were without power following the leak around 3:15 a.m. By the middle of the day, that number had dropped to about 600 people.


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