Update 3:45 PM Town of Andover
Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan, Police Chief Patrick Keefe and Fire Chief Michael B. Mansfield seek to update members of the community about progress made in the efforts following yesterday's gas emergency and subsequent fires.
Governor Charlie Baker today declared a state of emergency in the communities of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover and placed Eversource Energy in charge of the response to this situation, removing Columbia Gas from its role.
“I applaud Governor Baker’s decision to use the full force of his office to support the repair and restoration efforts in the Merrimack Valley. People want to go back to their homes, and I am confident that this is a giant step in the right direction,” Town Manager Flanagan said. “Our attempts to work closely with Columbia Gas during this crisis have been met with little more than phone calls unreturned and questions unanswered.”
“We look forward to working with the Governor’s Office and Eversource to see this situation to completion,” added Chief Keefe, who serves as the Andover Emergency Management Director. “This has been a difficult two days, and our residents rightly deserve answers and reasonable expectations. We appreciate our residents’ patience during this transition.”
The town has received numerous generous offers of support, aid and supplies. Andover has established a single point of contact for all offers of support and donations. Email AndoverCommunitySupport@andoverma.usregarding any donations or offers of support.
Residents should consult this list on the Town of Andover website to determine whether or not they are cleared to return to their homes.
Homes and buildings on streets listed in the left column of the list are SAFE to return home, while those on streets named in the right column are NOT YET CLEARED to return.
An estimated 8,000 people across Andover, North Andover and Lawrence were displaced by the incident. Approximately 1,800 Andover homes remain under an evacuation advisory.
Crews consisting of a police officer, firefighter, and gas technician are currently going to door-to-door on the affected streets to ensure that gas service is disconnected, and homes are safe. Inspections are underway, and crews are making excellent progress at this time. As soon as authorities determine homes are safe, residents will be notified via CodeRed and social media that it is safe to return home.
Residents whose gas service has been shut off are advised not to turn it back on. A gas crew will have to reconnect and restart service safely. As this process is in flux, the town will provide a phone number for the proper utility company for residents to contact as soon as it is available.
National Grid has cut off the power to a portion of the Town of Andover. Power will be restored as soon as the utility companies determine it is safe to do so.
The Andover Senior Center and Cormier Youth Center, located at 30 Whittier Court, remain open to displaced residents. A charging station is on location at the Senior Center and Youth Center so that residents can charge their electronic devices.
UPDATE 10:05 AM, Friday, September 14, 2018
The Town of Andover has compiled a list of streets that have been cleared to return to and NOT cleared to return to. The list will be updated as the Town of Andover receives more information throughout the recovery process
Town of Andover Streets - Cleared & Not Cleared
IF YOU TURNED OFF YOUR GAS, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TURN IT BACK ON YOURSELF- CALL COLUMBIA GAS AT 866-388-3239
UPDATE 12:30 AM Friday, September 14, 2018
Andover Public Safety Officials Provide Update on Gas Emergency
ANDOVER — Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan, Police Chief Patrick Keefe and Fire Chief Michael B. Mansfield report that certain town residents are clear to return home at this time.
1. Residents SOUTH of the intersection of Rt. 28 and Salem Street (toward North Reading) may return home at this time. They are not in the affected area.
2. Residents NORTH of Rt. 28 at Salem Street(toward Lawrence and the Merrimack River) should remain out of their homes at this time. A total of 20 teams, each consisting of a police officer, firefighter and natural gas technician will be going house-to-house to 1,800 affected natural gas customers in this area to verify that the gas meters are shut off, or to shut them off. The gas service will not be restored until the gas company determines it is safe to do so.
3. Residents in the unaffected zone (South of Rt. 28/Salem Street) but turned off your gas service manually, LEAVE IT OFF until a gas technician can come to your home and restore service properly.
The Town of Andover has made facilities available to residents displaced by today’s gas emergency and resulting fires. The Andover Senior Center and Youth Center, located at 30 Whittier Court are open to displaced residents.
An estimated 8,000 people across Andover, North Andover and Lawrence have been displaced by today’s incident.
National Grid has cut off the power to a portion of town. Power will be restored as soon as the utility companies determine it is safe to do so.
Andover Public Schools are closed Friday, and after-school activities are cancelled.
“Ensuring safety in the area and protecting residents is the highest priority at this time,” Town Manager Flanagan said. “This is a major event, and I want to thank our first responders and residents for their teamwork as we prepare to begin the recovery process.”
All fires in Andover had been extinguished as of 6:45 p.m. Three people were injured in Andover as a result of this incident, including two firefighters and one civilian. Six additional civilians who could not safely evacuate from their homes have been transported to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment for pre-existing medical conditions.
Town Manager Flanagan has been in regular communication with Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera and North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor as well as Governor Charlie Baker and officials from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
At 5:01 p.m., Andover Fire Rescue struck a 10-alarm response, its maximum traditional fire response. That directed 20 fire engines and 10 fire ladder trucks to the Town of Andover plus the town’s entire fire department. However, a lot of those resources were diverted by concurrent 10-alarm situations in Lawrence and North Andover. (In fact, many of the units directed to respond to Andover were North Andover and Lawrence fire units that were already responding to emergencies in their communities.)
Chief Michael Mansfield requested through MEMA, two additional fire task forces to respond to Andover. This sent an additional 20 engines and ladder trucks total to Andover. Chief Mansfield also requested an ambulance task force, sending 10 ambulances to Andover.
A total of 38 active fires in Andover were put out during today’s emergency, with 18 fires burning simultaneously at the peak of the incident. Firefighters also responded to 17 gas leaks.
Chief Keefe notes that police resources from throughout Massachusetts responded to Andover, including the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) Rapid Response Team, the NEMLEC Motor Unit, and the Massachusetts State Police. Chief Mansfield is grateful for the response of so many agencies including MEMA, The State Fire Marshal’s Office, and fire departments from as far away as Boston, Needham, and Belmont.
More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. Updates will be made at www.andoverma.gov and on the town’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
UPDATE 9:30 PM
Andover Public Schools are closed tomorrow, Friday, September 14, 2018
UPDATE 7:07 PM
Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan, Police Chief Patrick E. Keefe, and Fire Chief Michael Mansfield report that the Town of Andover is currently involved in a major gas-related emergency.
At 5:01 p.m., Andover Fire-Rescue Department struck a 10-alarm response, its maximum traditional fire response. That directed 20 fire engines and 10 fire ladder trucks to the Town of Andover plus the town’s entire fire department. However, a lot of those resources were diverted by concurrent 10-alarm situations in Lawrence and North Andover.
Chief Michael Mansfield requested through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, two additional fire task forces to respond to Andover. This sent an additional 20 engines and ladder trucks total to Andover. Chief Mansfield also requested an ambulance task force, sending 10 ambulances to Andover.
Andover responded and put out 35 total fires in Andover. At peak, 18 fires were burning at the same time. ALL FIRES HAVE BEEN EXTINGUISHED, however fire crews will remain in Andover throughout the evening.
These are gas-related fires. Columbia Gas is working to shut off gas service, and we will re-evaluate from there.
At least three people have been injured in Andover, including one firefighter and at least two civilians.
Chief Keefe notes that police resources from throughout Massachusetts have responded to Andover, including the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) Rapid Response Team, the NEMLEC Motor Unit, and the Massachusetts State Police. Chief Mansfield is grateful for the response of so many agencies including MEMA, The State Fire Marshal’s Office, and fire departments from as far away as Boston, Needham, and Belmont.
The Andover Senior Center and Andover Youth Center have been open for residents who have been displaced. Additional facilities may be opened if necessary.
UPDATE 5:53 PM
ATTENTION ANDOVER: If you know how to safely shut off your gas, please do so. Residents and businesses are being advised to evacuate. We will share updates as soon as possible.
The Senior Center at 30 Whittier Court is being opened for displaced residents.
The Town of Andover has activated its Emergency Operations Center.