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Struggles Continue in Merrimack Valley as Some Residents Return Home

Nicole Abreu returned to her Merrimack Valley home to find she still has no stove or gas to cook

For hundreds of people who’ve been displaced following the gas line fires and explosions in the Merrimack Valley, RVs issued by Columbia gas have served as their temporary homes.

Now, some residents are returning home, under Columbia Gas's instruction, after the company allegedly told them their homes are gas ready. But that hasn’t been the case for everyone.

Nicole Abreu has heat and hot water but still no stove or gas to cook.

“They said they were all set. I was excited, I was like I’m going home. I packed up. When I got home, it was sad. I’m so used to cooking a meal every single night for my family and I can’t.”

For Abreu’s family of five, not being able to cook is a major inconvenience, at the wrong time of the year.

“I’m afraid that I can’t cook for my family on Thanksgiving. And then my son's birthday is Christmas so I might not be able to cook for him on Christmas either,” Abreu said.

After Columbia Gas removed Abreu's stove, she says they vowed to replace it. But with no stove yet, the Abreu family is forced to eat out, which gets expensive. Abreu says this is about much more than finances, though. 

She says she hasn't been given a timeline by Columbia Gas as to when her stove will be replaced.

In terms of the bigger picture, the Massachusetts Senate has scheduled two oversight hearings next month on issues stemming from the September natural gas explosions and fires in three communities.

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