Columbia Gas Opens Claims Center for Residents Impacted by Gas Leak

Roughly 150 homes and businesses were evacuated in Friday's gas leak

Residents and businesses affected by last week’s major gas leak in Lawrence, Massachusetts will be able to file a claim on Monday for any losses.

Columbia Gas, the utility company behind last week’s gas leak and last year’s deadly explosions in the Merrimack Valley, said its pop-up claims center would be set up in the parking lot of St. Patrick Church on South Broadway.

For the second time in about a year, Lawrence resident Chris Rodriguez was in line Monday asking Columbia Gas for help after Friday's gas leak.

"It was so horrible. And now we are going through this a second time," he said.

Rodriguez, who says he has been struggling with medical issues — including colon cancer— wants to know how city officials plan to help as well.

"My question for the mayor is, what's he going to do to help us so that we can get peace of mind,” he said.

Business owners were also among the dozens in line filing claims for financial assistance.

"We lost a day's worth of business," said Leo Lamontagne, who owns an auto shop. "I have really no complaints other than the fact that it's just a little bit of aggravation, but we made it through whole."

Friday's gas leak prompted evacuations for more than 100 residents in the early morning. The leak happened when city contractors checking water valves "inadvertently closed a gas valve," according to officials.

No injuries were reported in connection to the leak and service has been restored for almost all of the 150 homes and businesses that were without gas. Columbia Gas said it has not been able to restore service for the remaining homes because its residents have not returned.

All residents were cleared to return home on Saturday.

The claims center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and customers can also contact their Claims Helpline at 1-800-590-5571.

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