Mass. explosions have left residents without heat for Thanksgiving

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By Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Mass. — Families in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts are facing a challenging Thanksgiving more than two months after natural gas explosions and fires leveled homes and left thousands without heat or hot water.

More than 2,000 homes are still without gas service in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover after gas lines were overpressurized during an otherwise routine pipeline replacement project, triggering dozens of explosions and fires.

Sep. 17, 201802:25

While some residents have chosen to tough it out in chilly homes, more than 1,500 are spending the holiday in hotels, apartments and trailers paid for by Columbia Gas.

The utility company is responsible for the Sept. 13 fires that killed one, injured dozens and destroyed or damaged more than 100 structures.

At the trailer park set up on Lawrence’s South Common, Jose Grullon said his family’s holiday would be more modest than usual.

The 45-year-old, his pregnant wife and two young children moved into a trailer last month after it became too cold in their apartment. Like most affected homes, theirs didn’t suffer any fires or explosions, but the hot water heater, boiler and other gas appliances were compromised by the over-pressurization and need to be replaced before gas service can be restored.

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