December 2018, Vol. 245, No. 12


Columbia Gas’ Merrimack Valley Accident: Fallout Just Starting

By Tom Ewing O n Sept. 13, at about 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, a series of explosions and fires erupted in a gas distribution system in the city of Lawrence, Mass., and the nearby towns of Andover and North Andover, about 25 miles north of Boston. The distribution system is owned and operated by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (Columbia Gas), a subsidiary of NiSource. The consequences were tragic and severe. One person was killed and at least 21 others, including 2 firefighters, were hospitalized. At least five homes and several structures were destroyed, and damage extended to 131 structures. An initial analysis by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) indicated that high-press

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