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The original item was published from 9/18/2018 12:51:00 PM to 9/19/2018 12:00:01 AM.

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Andover News

Posted on: September 13, 2018

[ARCHIVED] UPDATE 12:50 PM 9/18/18 Town of Andover Update

UPDATE, 12:50 PM, Tuesday, September 18

After a meeting between Andover officials, including Town Manager Flanagan and Deputy Town Manager Michael Lindstrom, Columbia Gas has agreed to opened a claims center at the Old Town Hall, 20 Main St. The claims center is slated to open TODAY at 1 p.m. and will be staffed with multiple claims representatives. The claims center will be open until 8 p.m today and will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Claims can also be initiated by phone at 800-590-5571.

NiSource Inc., the parent company of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, has notified the Towns of Andover that it has restored natural gas service most of the customers in the unaffected area of town, who turned off their service on Thursday as this emergency was unfolding. Out of the 3,021 customers in this area, 2,493 were turned back on as of 10 a.m. Tuesday. A total of 168 homes were inaccessible/residents not home, and there are still 360 homes on Columbia's list that teams are still working to re-connect.

Customers are reminded to call Columbia at 866-388-3239 if they are in the unaffected area and still have not had gas service restored.

A total of 207 gas crews are working in Andover at this time to complete the restoration progress for gas customers in the unaffected areas.

In the affected regions, all gas customers may have sustained damage to their service lines, furnaces, water heaters, and/or gas appliances. NiSource has also committed to either replacing all damaged infrastructure and appliances or fully reimbursing residents who choose to and have the means to pay for repairs or replacement costs out of pocket.

If a resident cannot afford repair or replacement costs, NiSource will arrange for this work to be done for free. If a resident is able to and chooses to arrange for repairs or replacements on their own, NiSource will reimburse all costs.

Residents who incur out-of-pocket expenses will be required to save their receipts and provide proof of damage such as photos or police/fire incident reports.

The Town of Andover is not charging residents or business owners any permit fees for the contracted work or repairs that need to be performed as a result of the gas emergency. An office trailer is located behind the Old Town Hall (20 Main St.) for contractors to pull permits at no charge. The trailer is staffed by state inspectors. At the town's request, NiSource is allowing residents to have any licensed contractor pull repair work permits to begin repair work. Residents do not have to use a specific vendor recommended by NiSource.

The trailer will be in place for as long as it is needed. This will allow contractors for residents in the affected area to quickly get started on vital repairs inside their homes. Please note that only contractors may pull permits for this work. Residents should not come to the trailer to obtain a permit.

UPDATE, 3:50 PM, Monday, September 17

Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan, Police Chief Patrick Keefe, Fire Chief Michael B. Mansfield, and Andover’s town government department heads seek to update residents on the status of restoration efforts in the aftermath of the Merrimack Valley gas emergency.

NiSource Inc., the parent company of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, has notified the Towns of Andover and North Andover and the City of Lawrence that the company has 500 crews working to immediately restore natural gas service to those customers in the unaffected areas who turned off their service on Thursday as this emergency was unfolding.

“We have been informed by NiSource that these crews will work continuously until the work is done and all customers have service restored in the unaffected areas,” Chief Mansfield said. “We have been informed that this work is expected to be completed by midnight tonight.”

In the affected regions, all gas customers may have sustained damage to their service lines, furnaces, water heaters, and/or gas appliances.

NiSource has also committed to both replacing all damaged infrastructure and appliances and completely reimbursing residents who choose to and have the means to pay for repairs or replacement costs out of pocket. If a resident cannot afford repair or replacement costs, NiSource will arrange for this work to be done for free. If a resident is able to and chooses to arrange for repairs or replacements on their own, NiSource will reimburse all costs.

Residents who incur out-of-pocket expenses will be required to save their receipts and provide proof of damage such as photos or police/fire incident reports.

In a statement earlier today, NiSource announced that it is “developing a plan … to replace the entire affected 48-mile cast iron and bare steel pipeline system in the towns of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover with state-of-the-art plastic distribution mains and service lines, and modern safety features.”

The timeline for this work will not be measured in days but certainly in weeks and likely months. Therefore, after a meeting with municipal managers, emergency managers, and fire chiefs in the three affected communities, NiSource is currently working to provide temporary solutions for heat, hot water, and cooking gas for residents in the affected zones.

These solutions will not be electric space heaters or anything that presents a possible risk to public safety. More information is expected to be released shortly about these solutions.

“We are committed to ensuring that our residents and business owners are made whole again, but we are not going to do this in a manner that jeopardizes public safety,” Chief Mansfield said. “Our fire and building codes are still in effect, and they will be enforced.”

The Town of Andover is waiving permit fees for any contracted work or repairs that need to be performed as a result of the gas emergency. An office trailer is located behind Old Town Hall (20 Main St.) for contractors to pull permits at no charge. The trailer is staffed by state inspectors. At the town’s request, NiSource is allowing residents to have any licensed contractor pull repair work permits. Residents do not have to use a specific vendor recommended by NiSource.

The trailer will be in place for as long as it is needed. This will allow contractors for residents in the affected area to quickly get started on vital repairs inside their homes. Please note that only contractors may pull permits for this work. Residents should not come to the trailer to obtain a permit.

Disaster Relief

Town Manager Flangan has been working directly with Mayor Dan Rivera, North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor, and Governor Charlie Baker to establish a single disaster relief fund that will provide assistance to individuals and businesses impacted by this incident. Details will be released as soon as they are available.

Free Meals for Residents

The Andover Community Services Department is offering free continental breakfast and a hot lunch for all residents every day through Friday, September 21. Residents are asked to call and register at 978-623-8320.

Meals will be served from 8-9 a.m and from noon to 12:30 p.m.

For those in need, the food pantry will also be open during normal hours on Thursday, September 20 from 4-5 p.m. at the Senior Center, 30 Whittier Court.

Loss and Damage Claims

Residents who were displaced by this weekend’s incident should make every effort to track the expenses they incurred — including documentation of damages, photographs, meals, hotel costs, spoiled food, lost wages or business income and other associated losses — in order to ease the process of seeking reimbursement from Columbia Gas.

The Town of Andover is in the process of opening an in-town claims center.

To initiate the claims process through Columbia Gas, please call 800-590-5571.

Public Health

Health Division staff are working with affected restaurants to ensure they meet health and safety codes and are able to reopen. Mutual Aid resources from other communities are being used to assist in this workload.

We practice basic safe food handling in our daily lives, but obtaining and storing food safely becomes more challenging during a power outage.

Steps to Follow During and After a Power Outage

-Never taste a food to determine its safety.

-Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

-Discard all refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.

Remember: When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

Click here for more information on food safety.

Trash and Recycling Pickup

Republic Services, will be collecting Friday’s service area on Monday and then running a holiday week schedule for the remainder of the week.

Therefore if your regular collection day is Friday, you will receive collection service on Monday. Monday service will be collected on Tuesday; Tuesday service will be collected on Wednesday, Wednesday service will be collected on Thursday, Thursday service will be collected on Friday, and Friday service will be collected on Saturday.

Republic Services understands that there will likely be increased rubbish volume this week - the added volume will be collected. Residents should make every reasonable effort to place trash bags in covered containers as always, in order to avoid litter. The town is coordinating with Republic Services to bring in additional resources if needed.

Residents with any questions are asked to refer to the Town of Andover website - www.andoverma.gov - or call the Department of Public Works on Monday at (978) 623-8700 and press 0 for the operator.

UPDATE, 11:40 AM, Monday, September 17

The Andover Community Services Department is offering FREE continental breakfast and a hot lunch every day through Friday, September 21st. Residents are asked to call and register at (978) 623-8320. Meals will be served from 8:00 am to 9:00 am and 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm. The food pantry will be open during normal hours on Thursday, September 20th from 4:00 pm to 5:00 at the Senior Center, 30 Whittier Ct. 

UPDATE, 10:30 AM, Monday, September 17

Several hundred technicians began the re-lighting process in Andover's unaffected area. Residents can leave their cell phone number on the door if you will not be at home. Crews will be deployed to turn gas service on street by street. You are still encouraged to call (866) 388-3239 to ensure that Columbia Gas is aware of your service interruption. You can also find out if you are in the affected area by calling that number. Gas service restoration in the affected area continues to be evaluated by Columbia Gas and their utility partners. As soon as we learn more about that process, we will provide an update to the community. 

UPDATE, 5:38 PM, Sunday, September 16

Gas Restoration 

Eversource Energy and Columbia Gas are directing the gas service restoration process. For more information, visit Eversource's website. The town is in regular communication with the utility and will provide any updates to the public as they become available. 

Schools

 All Andover Public Schools and after school activities will resume at normal times tomorrow, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Buses will operate on normal schedules and food services at all schools will be available.

Greater Lawrence Technical School will be closed on Monday.

Trash and Recycling Pickup

Republic Services, will be collecting Friday’s service area on Monday and then running a holiday week schedule for the remainder of the week.

Therefore if your regular collection day is Friday, you will receive collection service on Monday. Monday service will be collected on Tuesday; Tuesday service will be collected on Wednesday, Wednesday service will be collected on Thursday, Thursday service will be collected on Friday, and Friday service will be collected on Saturday.

Republic Services understands that there will likely be increased rubbish volume this week - the added volume will be collected. Residents should make every reasonable effort to place trash bags in covered containers as always, in order to avoid litter. The town is coordinating with Republic Services to bring in additional resources if needed.

Residents with any questions are asked to refer to the Town of Andover website - www.andoverma.gov - or call the Department of Public Works on Monday at (978) 623-8700 and press 0 for the operator.

Food Waste Due to Power Outages

We practice basic safe food handling in our daily lives, but obtaining and storing food safely becomes more challenging during a power outage.

Steps to Follow During and After a Power Outage

-Never taste a food to determine its safety.

-Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

-Discard all refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.

Remember: When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

Click here for more information on food safety.

Health Division

Businesses looking to contact the Health Division should call 978-623-8640 and leave a message, or send an email to health@andoverma.gov. Both are being monitored and staff will respond in a timely manner.

The Health Division Office will be open on Monday at 7 a.m.

Library

Memorial Hall Library will return to normal operating hours on Monday, opening at 9 a.m.

Water and Sewer

Andover Water & Sewer reports normal water system operation. The Water Treatment Plant continued to run through the duration of the gas emergency, and water remains completely safe for all uses.

Police Department

The Andover Police Department records office will open at 8 a.m. Monday.

Loss and Damage Claims

Residents who were displaced by this weekend's incident should make every effort to track the expenses they incurred -- including meals, hotel costs, property damage, spoiled food, lost wages or business income and other associated losses -- in order to ease the process of seeking reimbursement from Columbia Gas.
To initiate the claims process through Columbia Gas, please call 1-800-590-5571.

Updates will continue to be posted on the town's official website at www.andoverma.gov and on the town’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.


UPDATE: 6:55 AM, Sunday, September 16

All residents are cleared to return to their homes. Power restoration is expected this morning. 


UPDATE: 9:15 PM, Saturday, September 15

Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan, Police Chief Patrick Keefe and Fire Chief Michael B. Mansfield report that the Town of Andover expects residents will be able to return to their homes early tomorrow morning.

Eversource Energy notified town officials that, of the 2,078 affected gas meters in Andover, more than 1,500 have now been shut down and cleared. Fourteen additional streets have been moved to the "Cleared" list in the last hour.

Town officials are working closely with utility crews, moving street by street to restore power to customers. The Town of Andover expects this work to be substantially completed by 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16.

Town officials continue to update the cleared streets list on the Town website. To view that list, click here.

Residents in the "cleared" zone may return home immediately, but please note that gas service is not yet restored, and may not be for some time.

More than 100 teams of gas technicians, police officers, and firefighters are working in Andover at this time.

Residents whose homes are on the clear list, but whose gas was shut off as a precaution, should NOT attempt to turn their gas back on. Eversource crews will restore service when it is safe to do so, and residents should wait for Eversource to restore their service.

Eversource crews, in close cooperation with Andover Police and Fire personnel, are continuing the process of going door to door to shut off meters and ensure homes and businesses are safe to occupy. .

The Senior Center will remain open through tomorrow morning for residents who have been displaced.

Town of Andover Streets - Cleared & Not Cleared

Visit the link above or view PDF version here: Updated Street List 8:26 PM 9/15/18

UPDATE: 8:26, Saturday, September 15

Addition streets have been cleared to return. Visit the link above or view PDF version here: Updated Street List 8:26 PM 9/15/18


UPDATE: 11:00 AM, Saturday, September 15

An additional 40 streets have been cleared to return. Visit the link above or view PDF version here: Updated Street List 8:26 PM 9/15/18


UPDATE: 9:05 PM, Friday, September 14, 2018

This is a message from the town of Andover regarding the gas line explosions and fires that occurred yesterday. There were approximately 2,000 gas meters in Andover that were impacted during the event. The town has been able to identify the streets and neighborhoods that were not impacted and posted that "clear" list on the town's website – andoverma.gov. Those residents can return to their homes. In most cases, those houses will have electricity, but in some cases, they will not. If you were on that "clear" list and have returned to your home or business and out of precaution you had shut off your gas service, only a gas utility representative can turn your gas service back on. Do not turn the service back on yourself.

For the approximately 2,000 gas meters that were impacted, those residents should not return to their homes. Gas utility representatives in conjunction with fire and police personnel are going door to door to shut off meters and check for residual gas within the home. This will continue throughout the night. Once all shut offs are complete, the electricity can be restored. We hope to be able to report significant progress throughout the weekend. This is only the first step. Restoration of gas service will require additional steps. We expect Eversource to provide regular updates about service restoration.

We recommend that you continue to monitor the town's website for more information.


UPDATE: 3:45 PM, Friday, September 14, 2018

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, Thursday, September 13, 2018 

Andover Public Schools are closed tomorrow, Friday, September 14, 2018


UPDATE: 7:07 PM, September 13, 2018

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.

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: 5:53 PM. September 13, 2018

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. 

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