Officials have announced that faulty work caused explosions in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence, Massachusetts just north of Boston on September 13, 2018. The explosions killed one person, injured many others, damaged 131 buildings, caused 60 fires, and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made the announcement on Thursday, October 11, 2018. Its investigation is continuing.
A work crew contracted by Columbia Gas was replacing old gas pipes in Lawrence at the time of the disaster. According to the New York Times, The agency’s report, which is preliminary as the investigation continues, places the blame squarely with the company.
According to the report, “Columbia Gas developed and approved the work package executed on the day of the accident. The work package did not account for the location of the sensing lines or require their relocation to ensure the regulators were sensing actual system pressure. The work was performed in accordance with steps laid out in the work package.”
The report continued, “The contracted crew was working on a tie-in project of a new plastic distribution main and the abandonment of a cast-iron distribution main. The distribution main that was abandoned still had the regulator sensing lines that were used to detect pressure in the distribution system and provide input to the regulators to control the system pressure. Once the contractor crews disconnected the distribution main that was going to be abandoned, the section containing the sensing lines began losing pressure.
“As the pressure in the abandoned distribution main dropped about 0.25 inches of water column (about 0.01 psig), the regulators responded by opening further, increasing pressure in the distribution system. Since the regulators no longer sensed system pressure they fully opened allowing the full flow of high-pressure gas to be released into the distribution system supplying the neighborhood, exceeding the maximum allowable pressure.”
Officials: Faulty Work Caused Explosions
The finding that faulty work caused explosions in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence Massachusetts carries serious consequences. Those explosions caused widespread damage, the displacement of thousands of people, the injuries to citizens and firefighters, and – most tragic – the death of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon.
After a disaster, people look around and wonder how to continue. Nothing can replace the loss of a friend and loved one, or undo the pain and suffering of a serious injury or destruction of a home or community. The attorneys of Pritzker Hageman law firm understand their grief, confusion and suffering – and their need for answers, and justice. Pritzker Hageman has won multi-million dollar settlements for victims and families of tragedies, empowering the survivors to press on and work to piece their lives back together.
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“Faulty Work by Gas Company Caused Massachusetts Explosions, Officials Say.” New York Times, October 12, 2018.
Marsh, Rene and Lauren del Valle. “Over-pressurized gas lines caused fatal explosions near Boston, NTSB says.” CNN, October 11, 2018.
Executive Summary. “Preliminary Report Pipeline: Over-pressure of a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Low-pressure Natural Gas Distribution System.” National Transportation Safety Board, October 11, 2018.