• Columbia Gas: 90 percent of claims filed after gas explosions settled

    By: Elysia Rodriguez


    LAWRENCE, Mass. - It's been eight months since the Merrimack Valley gas explosions but the claims process and the cleanup continues. 

    An 18-year-old died that day in September on Chickering Road. The rubble still hasn't been cleaned up. 

    There were also some serious injuries and other homes were destroyed. But Columbia Gas says they are hoping to restore some confidence in the company and compensate those affected for their losses.

    >> PREVIOUS: 8 months later, people still on edge after Merrimack Valley gas explosions

    "This was an unprecedented event and it took unprecedented responses." said Mark Kempic, president of Columbia Gas.

    Kempic gave an update Saturday during a community meeting in Lawrence, saying much of the work is done, but there's more to do. 

    Hundreds of furnaces that were repaired to get through the winter now need to be replaced.

    And there was other damage done to people's property and landscaping during repairs that they must now fix.

    "So we put customers where they were before we had to dig through the soil or sidewalk to put service line in," Kempic said. 

    << PREVIOUS: 18-year-old killed in Lawrence during Merrimack Valley gas explosions

    The company says they've settled about 90 percent of claims.

    They've finished about 24,000 claims and have about 600 to go.

    But those who spent weeks, even months, without gas service are still frustrated.

    One woman who asked not to be named told Boston 25 News that she received a new furnace but feels the company should have paid out more. 

    "I have been made a fool," she said. "Literally walk your walk."

    Claims from the explosions have been estimated to be greater than $1 billion.

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