Gas company replacing heating equipment damaged in disaster

Gas company replacing heating equipment damaged in disaster

LAWRENCE, Mass. — The utility company blamed for natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts' Merrimack Valley last September is resuming efforts to replace heating equipment damaged in homes and businesses.

Mark Kempic, chief operating officer for Columbia Gas, said Thursday the company began to install new boilers and hot water heaters for about 900 customers in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover this week.

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The customers had received repairs that allowed the company to restore natural gas service over the winter. Most other customers - roughly 7,000 - received new heating equipment last year.

Kempic says the company hopes to complete the work by late August. The Sept. 13 disaster resulted in one death, dozens of injuries, damage to hundreds of buildings and thousands of customers without natural gas service for months.