Massachusetts: Suspected gas explosions hit dozens of homes and buildings

FOX: At least four people were injured in Massachusetts Thursday night after “suspected gas explosions” tore through several communities outside of Boston, officials confirmed.

Preliminary numbers estimate that between 60 to 100 homes in the Merrimack Valley caught fire in the towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, Methuen Police Chief Joseph Soloman said.

State Police (MSP) confirmed on Twitter that at least 70 locations were affected by fires, explosions and “investigations of gas odor.”

Residents in the aforementioned towns that are serviced by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts “should evacuate their homes immediately if they have not already done so,” police advised. Gas service was shut down by the company to roughly 8,000 customers.  read more

10 Comments on Massachusetts: Suspected gas explosions hit dozens of homes and buildings

  1. That does not happen everyday. Any chance all those homes had the same meter reader?

    I mean one house blows up- ok, that happens. But 60 to 70? How does that happen?

  2. The probability that scores of buildings in more than one community just happened to have gas explosions and fire is lower than the probability that Barky, Big Maw, Nancy P., and Schmuckles switch parties.

    Auric Goldfinger said it most famously:
    Once is happenstance.
    Twice is coincidence.
    Three times is enemy action.

    Sixty to one hundred?

  3. This has echos of the Boston Marathon bombing… they made EVERYONE in three neighborhoods evacuate their homes whether they had gas or not.

    This doesn’t pass the smell test. It sounds like it turned into a drill. Very shady.

  4. Full disclosure: I live about 30 minutes north of where this occurred, my wife used to live in one of these communities, and my local fire department was among those called in to assist.
    Local news reports say the system was being upgraded, and normally runs at low pressure but for some reason the system was overpressurized. FBI is investigating hos such an overpressurization could occur.
    As a friend of mine commented last night, the gas company better pray they find evidence of terrorism, or the company will be so bankrupt their great-grand children will still be paying the settlements.

  5. I work on the pipelines, not distribution so I’m puzzled how this happened as well.

    All the domestic (sits outside the house)gas regulators I’ve seen have an internal ‘relief’ valve so that if the regulator fails it will vent the gas outside the home. Around this area most residential mains have about 60 PSI on them so if the regulator catastrophically fails you will have a LOT of gas venting. It would be loud too.

    Don’t know what the normal supply pressure in the lines involved were but normally during uprating you move up 25% of the total change and then do a leak survey. Then you do both those three more times with a pause of a defined duration each time.

    Pure speculation on my part but the pressure increase may have gotten out of control or for some reason wasn’t properly monitored or instrumented. So I’m going with avoidable human error lacking more information.


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