• More than 150 travel trailers set up for Merrimack Valley residents without gas

    By: Drew Karedes

    Updated:

    More than 150 travel trailers are in place at South Common Park in Lawrence to accommodate residents who have been without gas for nearly a month.

    At three additional locations throughout the Merrimack Valley, more than 200 trailers are also being put into place.

    Officials say the priority is getting gas service restored and people back into their homes, but Columbia Gas has projected that some may have to wait until November 19, more than a month away.

    People are now starting to temporarily move into the trailers, with a similar process set to happen at Pemberton Park in Lawrence, Groogan Field in North Andover and Recreation Park in Andover.

    The trailers, leased by Columbia Gas, are 30-feet long, with bathrooms and showers. 

    The locations where they are established include 24-hour management and security personnel. 

    Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera stressed that this is disaster relief to provide people with heat in the event that temperatures drop.

    He said the efforts are by no means a long-term remedy for the situation.

    Mery Merette, whose mother moved into one of the trailers Wednesday evening, translated for her mother about the process, and described optimism about the temporary solution.

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    "If they need anything, toilet paper, towels, blankets, they have small office inside for anything they need," Merette said. "When the explosion happened, she was three days in my house. She was having a little bit of anxiety. We're trying to deal with this."

    In addition to the travel trailers, community leaders say more than 4,000 hotel rooms in a 30-mile radius will be available for people without heat.

    At last check, more than 22 miles of gas line had been replaced, the equivalent of less than 50 percent of what needs to be done.

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