• 8 months later, people still on edge after Merrimack Valley gas explosions

    By: Malini Basu

    Updated:

    LAWRENCE, Mass. - Eight months after the Merrimack Valley gas explosions, people living in the region are still devastated and paranoid that it could happen again.

    For many residents, Sept. 13, 2018, is a day people living in the Merrimack Valley will never forget.

    "The impact went beyond that. It’s an emotional impact, a psychological impact, no one talks about that," said Carol Terrero, neighbor.

    Terrero lives next door to where a house exploded on Chickering Road in Lawrence.

    "Ask my daughter, she was here, she almost got her face burned when the cable went down," Terrero said.

    18-year-old Leonel Rondon was killed when part of the chimney collapsed onto his SUV. 

    Officials say the tragedy was a result of overpressurized natural gas lines.

    "My son was here in the bathroom, and the whole house shook up. Who deals with that, the emotional impact it had on us? Terrero said. 

    Meanwhile, the payout announcement, expected on Tuesday, will cover part of the rebuilding process. 

    More than 60 homes and businesses were on fire in the Merrimack Valley.

    Thousands of residents were forced to find other places to live.

    "It was very frustrating, and scary at the same time," said neighbor Bruce Razin.

    Columbia Gas crews dug up nearly 50 miles of roads to replace more than 43 miles of gas pipelines.

    "You didn’t know if you were going to come back to your house or not, especially when they wouldn’t let us back in," Razin said. 

    MORE: Timeline of events during Merrimack Valley gas explosions

    Officials from Lawrence, Andover and North Andover will meet on Tuesday to discuss the settlement. The cost will cover the repaving of all of the impacted roads. 

    It will also cover expenses like overtime for public workers, the hiring of contractors and extra staff and utility costs and other expenses.

    Gov. Charlie Baker spoke about the negotiations Monday afternoon.

    "There's a lot of work that needs to get done, it's important to the communities that this gets done right, and we've been very aggressive about telling all the parties involved that they need to settle," Baker said. 

    Terrero said: "People care about the money. Money doesn’t resolve the emotional impact it had on everybody." 

    Related

    Communities hit by deadly fires, explosions reach settlement with Columbia Gas

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