NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — "It just went up the wall and then it went up here," said Rosemary Smedile, who remembers the gas explosions like it was yesterday.
Her North Andover home went up in flames that September day, from the basement up through the walls. She says thanks to two young boys who live down the street, her pets were saved, but the entire home was filled with black smoke.
"My husband and the chief said you couldn’t even see your hand in front of you," she said.
Friday marks one year since those gas explosions burned dozens of homes in the Merrimack Valley. And still, the Smediles have yet to move back home.
"It's been a long year, it's a project you work on every day," Rosemary said.
She says their home was almost a total loss. The fire burned for 45 minutes before first responders could arrive, since they were so busy with other calls.
And it took months to assess the damage and find a contractor to rebuild.
"It's not the loss of the house, we're very sad we've lost a lot a lot of family treasures, but that's stuff, it's the people and it's the community they have been so kind to us," Rosemary said.
Even though Smedile is still out of her home, all she has is gratitude for the help they've received over the last year. She's even thankful for the Columbia Gas workers who traveled from all over the country to come here to fix this disaster.
"We needed them and they came, and it's the same with the first responders, we needed them and they came," she said.
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