NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Gas fires, explosions to leave lasting impact

Residents have continued to stay strong in the aftermath


Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, will never be the same after the gas explosions that took place on September 13th, 2018. With Columbia Gas being the provider for the all of the homes that were lost or damaged, the company’s reputation will also never be the same.

.Cathleen Hernandez, a 22 year old from North Andover, Massachusetts was fortunate enough to not lose her home from the explosions. Even though Hernandez did not lose her home, she is still going through a challenging time “it makes everyday a little bit harder for me and my kids because we still don’t have any hot water or a functioning stove to cook dinner on.” Hernandez, like others who have been affected by this terrible tragedy are in complete shock that the gas has not been restored fourteen days after the incident.

Of all the cases that have populated in the Merrimack Valley, Lawrence, Massachusetts might be the most odd.

If you are not a local to Lawrence then you would not know that the town is divided into north and south. Connected by three separate bridges, the explosions of September 13th only took place in South Lawrence.

Don Machado, an elderly man from the north side of Lawrence was not directly affected by the explosions but instead had family members he has been witnessing going through the tough times this tragic incident has presented.

Machado, a father and grandfather states “I am extremely fortunate that I still have my home and working gas but my son and his family have had to go through the everyday hassle of having to grab clothes from home to shower in my house and also not be able to eat in the comfort of their home.”

Machado is beyond grateful he can help his family out in a time of need.

A resident from South Lawrence, Julian Strong has been looking at the more positive side of the current gas crisis.

Strong, a 53 year old who has lived in South Lawrence his whole life, says “ I feel for the folks who have lost their homes but I am glad to see how the community has responded to the whole situation. Whether it has been massive amounts of donations or schools offering places to sleep in, the same day of the explosions.”

Although residents have been allowed back into their homes, many remain without gas and have been forced to come up with alternatives to continue their everyday routines.

The Merrimack Valley has been put into a tough situation for the time being due to the restoration of gas being pushed out into the month of November.

Local residents have continued to stay hopeful and strong as they await for the gas to be restored back into their homes.

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