Lawrence Mayor Discusses Winter Weather Preparations for Gas Explosion Victims

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera held a press conference Wednesday to discuss winter weather preparations for the families impacted by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions.

Rivera was joined by fire officials and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz to discuss how they will help residents combat the cold as temperatures continue to decline.

Although some families were cleared to return to their homes, many are still without gas and are unable to cook.

Rivera said as the work continues in Lawrence and surrounding areas to get residents gas, heat, and hot water, there are still many homes and businesses without.

"Given the hard work of the recovery operation, as of yesterday, the number of impacted customers that are relit with heat and hot water in Lawrence is about 2,030 meters. That's roughly about 2,900 families that are not lit," said Rivera.

He added that hundreds of families are still in temporary housing. City officials reached out to those residents ahead of the cold weather to make sure they are safe and warm.

"Since we knew the homes that were going to be dealt with last, separately from the outreach that was done with Columbia Gas, we did outreach to people who were going to be lit last, my office with the senior center made phone calls to the most vulnerable and the last to be lit," said Rivera. "We've made outreach door-to-door to people we couldn't get to make sure we got the message out of temporary housing and financial assistance way before it got cold."

The September disaster killed one man, injured more than 20 others, and prompted evacuations for thousands of residents and led Gov. Charlie Baker to declare a state of emergency.

Contact Us