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The original item was published from 10/1/2018 8:27:00 PM to 10/1/2018 8:27:29 PM.

News Flash

Andover News

Posted on: September 19, 2018

[ARCHIVED] UPDATE, 8:25 PM, Sunday, September 30

UPDATE 8:25 PM, October 1


Gas Line Repair  - Maps of Construction Schedule

Columbia Gas has provided the Town of Andover with a construction schedule that outlines when gas line repair work will occur, with the goal of making streets and homes "gas ready."

In order for gas service to be restored, homes must be both house ready, with assessments done and in-home repairs complete, and gas ready, with main gas lines and home service lines replaced, and new meters installed.

The preliminary maps found here indicate the timeline for when work will begin to make streets gas ready. These maps are subject to change.


Relief Fund

The Essex County Community Foundation announced today that the application process will open on Wednesday, Oct. 3 for residents and businesses seeking funding and services from the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund.

The Fund –– established by Governor Charlie Baker, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, and Andover and North Andover Town Managers Andrew Flanagan and Andrew Maylor on Sept. 18 –– was opened with a $10 million contribution from Columbia Gas and fundraising efforts continue by ECCF. Donations raised by ECCF’s Lawrence Emergency Fund are being combined towards this humanitarian relief effort. One hundred percent of these funds, currently over $10.85 million, will support the relief efforts and those who have been directly affected by this tragedy.

Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 3, the application process for the Fund’s financial resources will be open and those in the impacted area may apply in three ways, all of which are available in both English and Spanish:

  • Online at www.GLDRF.org (link will be live October 3, this is the fastest and easiest way to apply)
  • Over the phone by dialing 2-1-1, for those who cannot apply online
  • In person for anyone in need of assistance at Andover's drop-in center.

Schedule for Greater Lawrence Disaster Fund drop-in center at Old Town Hall – 20 Main Street, Andover 
Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Noon – 8:00pm
Thursday, Oct. 4 - Noon – 8:00pm
Friday, Oct. 5 - Noon – 8:00pm
Saturday, Oct. 6 - 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 7 - Closed
Monday, Oct. 8 - Closed
Tuesday, Oct. 9 - Noon – 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 10 - Noon – 8 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 11 - Noon - 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 12 - Noon – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 13 - 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.


While residents and businesses are encouraged to apply online, they will be notified within 3-5 business days regarding the status of their application regardless of which method they use to apply for assistance.

Resources from the Fund will support the short and long-term shelter and sustenance needs of the more than 10,000 household units and businesses affected by the 7,500 Columbia Gas meters on the low-pressure lines in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. Thousands of residents and businesses in these communities have been without gas since Sept. 13, when gas fires and explosions from over-pressurized gas lines destroyed homes and neighborhoods.

A complete restoration of gas service will be complete by Nov. 19.

Volunteers are needed to support this application process and the Drop-In locations. To find out more about volunteer roles needed: Andover, North Andover or South Lawrence sites: visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/GLDRFVolunteer

For more information about the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund and the process to apply for financial resources, please visit www.eccf.org/GLDisasterReliefFund.


Assessment Process

For the most up to date information from Columbia Gas on the streets where assessment teams will be deployed, click here.

Columbia Gas has released a Frequently Asked Questions document in order to help residents learn more about the assessment process.

The assessment will include the following steps:

First, the assessors will evaluate and inventory gas-fueled appliances. Specifically, representatives will evaluate the furnace or boiler for repairs and inventory for replacement of gas water heaters and all other gas-fueled appliances. Photos will be taken so that Columbia Gas can replace gas-fueled appliances with like kind and quality appliances.

Second, Columbia Gas will pressure test in-home gas piping to see if it is damaged.

Finally, if a resident has not yet had a space heat assessment, an assessment of the electrical capacity of the home will be performed. If the home has the electrical capacity to safely support a space heater, the assessment teams will provide one during the visit. If needed, Columbia will install smoke alarms/CO detectors.

Click here to download the complete FAQ

Click here to download a briefing packet on this process that was provided to the city and town governments from Columbia Gas.

A total of 2,038 gas meters are in the affected zone in Andover.

Andover will deploy town resources each day to support the assessment effort and assist residents.


Small Business Loan Program

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor and Andover Town Manager Flanagan late last week announced a $1 million emergency loan program for businesses impacted by the gas emergency.

The fund will offer emergency loans to eligible businesses with no payments and no interest for the first six months. For businesses that extend beyond a six month period, market rates will apply and loans will be able to be extended or restructured for multi-year term loans.

The fund opened Oct. 1, and has an expedited application and approval process, with the goal of getting all applications processed within 24 and 48 hours.

For more information visit: www.wearelawrence.org/lawrencegasresponsebusiness.


Attorney General Hotline

Attorney General Maura Healey's office has established a hotline for those with questions and concerns. Residents and business owners may contact the Attorney General’s new hotline at 617-573-5370 in order to connect with specialists in the office who are able to handle questions about legal representation, home improvement scams, and insurance claims from homeowners, renters, and local businesses.



UPDATE 8:05 PM, September 30 

Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan would like to remind business owners that the state's small business loan program opens tomorrow, Oct. 1.

The $1 million emergency loan program will offer emergency loans to eligible businesses with no payments and no interest for the first six months. For businesses that extend beyond a six month period, market rates will apply and loans will be able to be extended or restructured for multi-year term loans.

Andover’s downtown and several other business districts are in the affected area.

The program will have an expedited application and approval process, with the goal of getting all applications processed within 24 and 48 hours.

For more details, visit wearelawrence.org/lawrencegasresponsebusiness.


UPDATE 12:15 PM, September 30

Columbia Gas has begun making phone calls to streets whose homes will undergo a single assessment for appliance replacement, gas line testing, and, if necessary, space heater/temporary heating installation.  Columbia Gas will be making automated phone calls at least 72 hours before crews begin working in neighborhoods, and work will be done on a rolling basis. Columbia will not be making individual appointments, but will notify the town which streets will be receiving assessments several days in advance. 


The assessment teams consist of licensed plumbers and electricians, appliance technicians, and linguists where necessary. The assessments are expected to continue through Oct. 19.


The following streets are scheduled for assessments today, Sunday, Sept. 30:

Bartlet Street

Central Street

Chapman Street

Chestnut Street

Judson Road

Locke Street

Main Street

Morton Street

N. Main Street

Old South Land

School Street


Columbia Gas previously informed the town that the following streets would also be scheduled for assessment on Sunday:

Kensington Street

Martingale Lane

Poor Street

Sherbourne Street

William Street

The following streets are scheduled for assessments on Monday, Oct. 1:

Buxton Court

Elm Street

Essex Street

Lewis Street

Main Street

North Main Street

Sweeney Court


Columbia Gas has released a Frequently Asked Questions document in order to help residents learn more about the assessment process. The assessment will include the following steps:

First, the assessors will evaluate and inventory gas-fueled appliances. Specifically, representatives ill evaluate the furnace or boiler for repairs and inventory for replacement of gas water heaters and all other gas-fueled appliances. Photos will be taken so that Columbia Gas can replace gas-fueled appliances with like kind and quality appliances.

Second, Columbia Gas will pressure test in-home gas piping to see if it is damaged.

Finally, if a resident has not yet had a space heat assessment, an assessment of the electrical capacity of the home will be performed. If the home has the electrical capacity to safely support a space heater, the assessment teams will provide one during the visit. If needed, Columbia will install smoke alarms/CO detectors.

Click here to download the complete FAQ


Click here to download a briefing packet on this process that was provided to the city and town governments from Columbia Gas.


A total of 2,038 gas meters are in the affected zone in Andover. Andover will deploy town resources each day to support the assessment effort and assist residents.

Main Gas Line Repair Work

Areas under construction each day will be announced via the news media, town website and social media. The town will also make use of its CodeRed emergency notification service to residents affected areas as necessary. Full restoration is expected to be completed by approximately Nov. 19. Columbia Gas has published a "Frequently Asked Questions" page on its website for those in both the affected and unaffected zones. Click here to access that resource.

Andover residents and visitors are asked to refrain from parking on metal construction plates placed on the road temporarily during the rolling construction process. The gas company is in and out of these holes throughout the day. They are working on more temporary "No Parking" signs to make it a little more conspicuous.

Approximately 6,324 of 301,334 feet of main line pipe have been replaced. Service lines to more than 40 of 6,100 residential units have been replaced. A total of 68 business customers in the three communities have also had gas service restored.

Job Fair

Columbia Gas will hold a career fair on Monday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m at the ValleyWorks Career Center in Lawrence.

Other Columbia Gas Updates

Columbia Gas has deployed liaisons to the city/town halls in all three communities to enhance communication and coordination between the gas company and the municipal governments. Columbia Gas is also finalizing the locations of long-term customer care centers in all three communities. As of today, Columbia Gas reported there would be 122 construction crews working in the three communities, according to MEMA.

Food Service Updates

Approximately 25 Andover restaurants remain unable to open or have been forced to offer limited food service. The Andover Public Health Division is working directly with restaurant owners to help them during the recovery phase. Restaurants must have running hot water for hand-washing purposes to meet the minimum requirements for food service. Hot water is also needed for wash/rinse/sanitize operations for utensils, pots, dishes, etc.

The town has streamlined the process for restaurants seeking to permanently or temporarily change fuel sources. Andover Fire Rescue is making staff available to review sketches and plans for new fuel sources, and the Health Division has staff standing by at 978-623-8640 to discuss the implementation of any operational changes that help restaurants re-open.

Restaurants may also obtain propane permits to use outdoor grills for cooking, so long as prep work and plating occur in a sanitary indoor kitchen environment.

Finally, the Health Division is aware of a number of reputable vendors supplying temporary kitchen trailers to help get restaurants up and running. Click here for a list of vendors and other useful guidelines from the Health Division.

Small Business Loan Program

Governor Charlie Bake, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor and Andover Town Manager Flanagan late last week announced a $1 million emergency loan program for businesses impacted by the gas emergency.

The fund will offer emergency loans to eligible businesses with no payments and no interest for the first six months. For businesses that extend beyond a six month period, market rates will apply and loans will be able to be extended or restructured for multi-year term loans.

The fund will open October 1 and have an expedited application and approval process, with the goal of getting all applications processed within 24 and 48 hours.

For more information visit: www.wearelawrence.org/lawrencegasresponsebusiness.

Attorney General Hotline

Attorney General Maura Healey's office has established a hotline for those with questions and concerns. Residents and business owners may contact the Attorney General’s new hotline at 617-573-5370 in order to connect with specialists in the office who are able to handle questions about legal representation, home improvement scams, and insurance claims from homeowners, renters, and local businesses.

Showers for Residents

The hot showers still available at Pomp’s Pond (147 Abbot St.) will remain open through at least Monday, Oct. 1.

Hours are Monday-Friday noon to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents need to bring their own shower supplies including towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap. There will be a limited number of showers designated for family use.

There is also an accessible shower for those with mobility impairments located at the Andover Senior Center (30 Whittier Court). Those are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays for as long as they are needed. Anyone who needs accessible shower must call the Senior Center at 978-623-8320 for an appointment time.

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers are assisting in staffing the trailers.

Hot Plate Safety

Chief Mansfield and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services strongly encourage the safe use of hot plates. Residents are urged to review the following guidelines:

Only use hot plates and electric skillets on the countertop.

Keep a 1-foot circle of safety around it; clear of anything that can catch fire.

Turn off when not in use.

Be mindful that hot plates stay hotter for longer than gas cooking surfaces.

Stay in the kitchen when cooking; stand by your pan.

Teach children to keep 3 giant steps from any cooking (the stove, a grill, or a hot plate).

Have a pot cover nearby to “put a lid” on a fire. Then unplug the hot plate if it is safe to do so.

Plug hot plates and electric skillets directly into the wall; do not use extension cords or power strips.

If the device trips the breaker or blows a fuse, stop using it right away and call an electrician or ask the landlord to so.

Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Chief Mansfield emphasizes that hot plates should be treated like any kitchen appliance. Do not use power strips or extension cords -- always plug them directly into the wall.

Claims Update

The Andover claims center will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Old Town Hall. It will open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday next week, and again from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Essex County Community Foundation -- Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will have representatives present at the claims center each day from Wednesday through Saturday next week.


After meeting with Town Manager Flanagan, Governor Baker's office and other municipal officials, Columbia Gas agreed to compensate all of its customers for all losses related to the Merrimack Valley gas emergency.


This includes:

Bodily injury

Damage to property

Disruption of businesses

Inconvenience and disruption of everyday activities caused by loss of use of gas service

Efforts to limit or mitigate the loss, such as switching from gas hot water heaters to electric or temporary solutions to heat, hot water and cooking

For more extensive information on the process for switching systems, please click here.


Residents are advised to call the 24-hour claims hotline at 800-590-5571 to initiate the process.


Click here to download Columbia's outline of the claims process.

Propane

Chief Mansfield has heard from a number of residents seeking to use Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG), commonly referred to as propane, as a temporary substitute for natural gas. Andover Fire Rescue prohibits the use of propane for household purposes where piped natural gas is available from a public utility. However, propane will be permitted when natural gas is unavailable. A permit is required, and there are specific safety regulations that must be followed by contractors and homeowners.


Click here for information on permits and a checklist for propane installations. 



UPDATE 2:25 PM, September 29

Claims Update - Direct Pay for Conversion to Alternative Fuels or Systems

Columbia Gas has updated their claims handling process that states residents and businesses  may request that Columbia Gas directly pay a certified licensed contractor to switch to alternative fuel source systems or appliances. To seek approval for such direct payment, residents should contact the claims hotline: - (800) 590-5571. Residents and businesses should be prepared to provide Columbia Gas with a detailed estimate of the work to be performed and contact information for the contractor.


To read the updated claims process information sheet click here.


UPDATE 12:40 PM, September 29

In order to move more quickly toward full restoration of gas service for homes, Columbia Gas has cancelled space heater evaluation appointments scheduled for Friday and beyond. Instead, crews will conduct a single assessment to determine every customer's repair and replacement needs. Customers who need space heaters and have the electrical capacity to safely use them will be given space heaters at those appointments.

Smoke/Carbon Monoxide detectors will also be given out free of charge during the single assessment. Columbia Gas will be making automated phone calls at least 72 hours before crews begin working in neighborhoods, and work will be done on a rolling basis.

Columbia will not be making individual appointments, but will notify the town which streets will be receiving assessments several days in advance. 

Beginning today, and continuing into November, licensed plumbers and electricians, appliance technicians, and linguists where necessary, will begin visiting impacted residences and businesses to install new gas appliances, such as boilers, furnaces, hot water heaters, stoves and dryers.

There are 122 assessment crews from Columbia Gas working today.


The following streets are scheduled for assessments today, Saturday, Sept. 29:

Central Street

Bartlet Street

Chapman Avenue

Chestnut Street

Judson Road

Locke Street

Main Street

Morton Street

North Main Street

Old South Lane

School Street

The following streets are scheduled for assessments tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 30:

Kensington Street

Martingale Lane

Poor Street

Sherbourne Street

William Street

The following streets are scheduled for assessments on Monday, Oct. 1:

Buxton Court

Elm Street

Essex Street

Lewis Street

Main Street

North Main Street

Sweeney Court

Click here to download a briefing packet on this process that was provided to the city and town governments from Columbia Gas.


A total of 2,038 gas meters are in the affected zone in Andover.

Andover will deploy town resources each day to support the assessment effort and assist residents.

Main Gas Line Repair Work

More than 110 construction crews are working today, Saturday, Sept. 29.

Areas under construction each day will be announced via the news media, town website and social media. The town will also make use of its CodeRed emergency notification service to residents affected areas as necessary.

Full restoration is expected to be completed by approximately Nov. 19.

Columbia Gas has published a "Frequently Asked Questions" page on its website for those in both the affected and unaffected zones. Click here to access that resource.

Andover residents and visitors are asked to refrain from parking on metal construction plates placed on the road temporarily during the rolling construction process. The gas company is in and out of these holes throughout the day. They are working on more temporary "No Parking" signs to make it a little more conspicuous.

Approximately 6,324 of 301,334 feet of main line pipe have been replaced. Service lines to more than 40 of 6,100 residential units have been replaced. A total of 68 business customers in the three communities have also had gas service restored.

Gas Purging

Gas purging continues in the affected area of Andover today, and is expected to last through tomorrow. Columbia Gas has stated it will notify the communities of any additional purging days, times and locations.


The following areas are scheduled for purging today, Saturday, Sept. 29:

Walnut to High Street

Wolcott Avenue

Lockway Road

Park Street

Whittier Street

Elm Street

Throughout the purging process, there is the chance that some residents may smell gas. Additional Columbia crews will be on-hand and Andover Fire Rescue has assigned a special task force, including a deputy chief to monitor the purging. If any resident smells gas, indoors or outside, they should dial 911 immediately.

Job Fair

Columbia Gas will hold a career fair on Monday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m at the ValleyWorks Career Center in Lawrence.

Other Columbia Gas Updates

Columbia Gas has deployed liaisons to the city/town halls in all three communities to enhance communication and coordination between the gas company and the municipal governments.

Columbia Gas is also finalizing the locations of long-term customer care centers in all three communities.

As of today, Columbia Gas reported there would be 122 construction crews working in the three communities, according to MEMA.

Food Service Updates

Approximately 25 Andover restaurants remain unable to open or have been forced to offer limited food service.

The Andover Public Health Division is working directly with restaurant owners to help them during the recovery phase.

Restaurants must have running hot water for hand-washing purposes to meet the minimum requirements for food service. Hot water is also needed for wash/rinse/sanitize operations for utensils, pots, dishes, etc.

The town has streamlined the process for restaurants seeking to permanently or temporarily change fuel sources. Andover Fire Rescue is making staff available to review sketches and plans for new fuel sources, and the Health Division has staff standing by at 978-623-8640 to discuss the implementation of any operational changes that help restaurants re-open.

Restaurants may also obtain propane permits to use outdoor grills for cooking, so long as prep work and plating occur in a sanitary indoor kitchen environment.

Finally, the Health Division is aware of a number of reputable vendors supplying temporary kitchen trailers to help get restaurants up and running. Click here for a list of vendors and other useful guidelines from the Health Division.

Attorney General Hotline

Attorney General Maura Healey's office has established a hotline for those with questions and concerns. Residents and business owners may contact the Attorney General’s new hotline at 617-573-5370 in order to connect with specialists in the office who are able to handle questions about legal representation, home improvement scams, and insurance claims from homeowners, renters, and local businesses.

Showers for Residents

The hot showers still available at Pomp’s Pond (147 Abbot St.) will remain open through at least Monday, Oct. 1.

Hours are Monday-Friday noon to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents need to bring their own shower supplies including towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap. There will be a limited number of showers designated for family use.

There is also an accessible shower for those with mobility impairments located at the Andover Senior Center (30 Whittier Court). Those are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays for as long as they are needed. Anyone who needs accessible shower must call the Senior Center at 978-623-8320 for an appointment time.

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers are assisting in staffing the trailers.

Hot Plate Safety

Chief Mansfield and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services strongly encourage the safe use of hot plates. Residents are urged to review the following guidelines:

Only use hot plates and electric skillets on the countertop.

Keep a 1-foot circle of safety around it; clear of anything that can catch fire.

Turn off when not in use.

Be mindful that hot plates stay hotter for longer than gas cooking surfaces.

Stay in the kitchen when cooking; stand by your pan.

Teach children to keep 3 giant steps from any cooking (the stove, a grill, or a hot plate).

Have a pot cover nearby to “put a lid” on a fire. Then unplug the hot plate if it is safe to do so.

Plug hot plates and electric skillets directly into the wall; do not use extension cords or power strips.

If the device trips the breaker or blows a fuse, stop using it right away and call an electrician or ask the landlord to so.

Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


Chief Mansfield emphasizes that hot plates should be treated like any kitchen appliance. Do not use power strips or extension cords -- always plug them directly into the wall.

Claims Update

The Andover claims center will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Old Town Hall. It will open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday next week, and again from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6.

The Essex County Community Foundation -- Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will have representatives present at the claims center each day from Wednesday through Saturday next week.

After meeting with Town Manager Flanagan, Governor Baker's office and other municipal officials, Columbia Gas agreed to compensate all of its customers for all losses related to the Merrimack Valley gas emergency.


This includes:

Bodily injury

Damage to property

Disruption of businesses

Inconvenience and disruption of everyday activities caused by loss of use of gas service

Efforts to limit or mitigate the loss, such as switching from gas hot water heaters to electric or temporary solutions to heat, hot water and cooking

For more extensive information on the process for switching systems, please click here.


Residents are advised to call the 24-hour claims hotline at 800-590-5571 to initiate the process.


Click here to download Columbia's outline of the claims process.


UPDATE 7:15 PM, September 27

 After consulting with municipal leaders in the three affected communities, Columbia Gas has decided to consolidate temporary heating assessments and home repair/restoration assessments into one single meeting.

"Thousands of lives are disrupted every day by this ongoing crisis, and we will continue advocating for our residents, business owners and workers at the highest levels, and we will continue to ensure everyone has a seat at a table until the crews all finished with their vital work," Town Manager Flanagan said.In order to move more quickly toward full restoration of gas service for homes with, Columbia Gas has cancelled space heater evaluation appointments scheduled for Friday and beyond. Instead, crews will conduct a single assessment to determine every customer's repair and replacement needs. Customers who need space heaters and have the electrical capacity to safety use them will be given space heaters at those appointments. Smoke/Carbon Monoxide detectors will also be given out free of charge during the single assessment.

Columbia Gas will be making automated phone calls at least 72 hours before crews begin working in neighborhoods, and work will be done on a rolling basis.


Columbia will not be making individual appointments, but will notify the towns which streets will be receiving assessments several days in advance. 

On Friday, the following streets are scheduled for assessment crews:

Brook Street

Ferndale Avenue

Haverhill Street

Magnolia Avenue

Poor Street

Windsor Street


The following streets are scheduled for assessment on Saturday:

Central Street

Chestnut Street

Main Street

Old South Lane

School Street

Click here to download a briefing packet on this process that was provided to the city and town governments from Columbia Gas today.


A total of 2,038 gas meters are in the affected zone in Andover. Andover will deploy town resources each day to support the assessment effort and assist residents.


Main Gas Line Repair Work

A total of 20 crews were working in Andover on Thursday. Areas under construction each day will be announced via the news media, town website and social media. The town will also make use of its CodeRed emergency notification service to residents affected areas as necessary. Full restoration is expected to be completed by approximately Nov. 19.

Columbia Gas has published a "Frequently Asked Questions" page on its website for those in both the affected and unaffected zones. Click here to access that resource.

Andover residents and visitors are asked to refrain from parking on metal construction plates placed on the road temporarily during the rolling construction process. The gas company is in and out of these holes throughout the day. They are working on more temporary "No Parking" signs to make it a little more conspicuous.

Approximately 4,169 of 301,334 feet of main line pipe have been replaced. Service lines to 52 of 6,100 residential units have been replaced. A total of 68 business customers in the three communities have also had gas service restored.


Gas Purging

Gas purging continues in the affected area of Andover today. Purging operations are expected to continue in three additional areas of Andover on Friday, and Columbia Gas has stated it will notify the communities of additional purging days, times and locations.


The following areas are scheduled for purging on Friday:

Haverhill Street near the Intersection of Riverina Road

High Street near the intersection of Haverhill Street

Union Street near the intersection of Shepley Street near the Lawrence city line

Throughout the purging process, there is the chance that some residents may smell gas. Additional Columbia crews will be on-hand and Andover Fire Rescue has assigned a special task force, including a deputy chief to monitor the purging. If any resident smells gas, indoors or outside, they should dial 911 immediately.


Other Columbia Gas Updates

Columbia Gas has deployed liaisons to the city/town halls in all three communities to enhance communication and coordination between the gas company and the municipal governments. Columbia Gas is also finalizing the locations of long-term customer care centers in all three communities. By Friday, Columbia reports there will be 122 construction crews working in the three communities, according to MEMA.


Food Service Updates

Approximately 25 Andover restaurants remain unable to open or have been forced to offer limited food service. The Andover Public Health Division is working directly with restaurant owners to help them during the recovery phase. Restaurants must have running hot water for hand-washing purposes to meet the minimum requirements for food service. Hot water is also needed for wash/rinse/sanitize operations for utensils, pots, dishes, etc.

The town has streamlined the process for restaurants seeking to permanently or temporarily change fuel sources. Andover Fire Rescue is making staff available to review sketches and plans for new fuel sources, and the Health Division has staff standing by at 978-623-8640 to discuss the implementation of any operational changes that help restaurants re-open.

Restaurants may also obtain propane permits to use outdoor grills for cooking, so long as prep work and plating occur in a sanitary indoor kitchen environment. Finally, the Health Division is aware of a number of reputable vendors supplying temporary kitchen trailers to help get restaurants up and running. Click here for a list of vendors and other useful guidelines from the Health Division.


Attorney General Hotline

Attorney General Maura Healey's office has established a hotline for those with questions and concerns. Residents and business owners may contact the Attorney General’s new hotline at 617-573-5370 in order to connect with specialists in the office who are able to handle questions about legal representation, home improvement scams, and insurance claims from homeowners, renters, and local businesses.

AG Healey will also give a presentation at Lawrence High School (71 N. Parish Road, Lawrence) on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. to discuss citizens' rights in the aftermath of the Merrimack Valley gas emergency.


Showers for Residents

The hot showers still available at Pomp’s Pond (147 Abbot St.) will remain open through at least Sunday, Oct. 1. Hours are Monday-Friday noon to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents need to bring their own shower supplies including towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap. There will be a limited number of showers designated for family use.

There is also an accessible shower for those with mobility impairments located at the Andover Senior Center (30 Whittier Court). Those are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays for as long as they are needed. Anyone who needs accessible shower must call the Senior Center at 978-623-8320 for an appointment time.

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers are assisting in staffing the trailers.


Hot Plate Safety

Chief Mansfield and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services strongly encourage the safe use of hot plates. Residents are urged to review the following guidelines:

Only use hot plates and electric skillets on the countertop.

Keep a 1-foot circle of safety around it; clear of anything that can catch fire.

Turn off when not in use.

Be mindful that hot plates stay hotter for longer than gas cooking surfaces.

Stay in the kitchen when cooking; stand by your pan.

Teach children to keep 3 giant steps from any cooking (the stove, a grill, or a hot plate).

Have a pot cover nearby to “put a lid” on a fire. Then unplug the hot plate if it is safe to do so.

Plug hot plates and electric skillets directly into the wall; do not use extension cords or power strips.

If the device trips the breaker or blows a fuse, stop using it right away and call an electrician or ask the landlord to so.

Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


Chief Mansfield emphasizes that hot plates should be treated like any kitchen appliance. Do not use power strips or extension cords -- always plug them directly into the wall.


Claims Update

The Andover claims center will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Old Town Hall.

After meeting with Town Manager Flanagan, Governor Baker's office and other municipal officials, Columbia Gas agreed to compensate all of its customers for all losses related to the Merrimack Valley gas emergency.

This includes:

Bodily injury

Damage to property

Disruption of businesses

Inconvenience and disruption of everyday activities caused by loss of use of gas service

Efforts to limit or mitigate the loss, such as switching from gas hot water heaters to electric or temporary solutions to heat, hot water and cooking

For more extensive information on the process for switching systems, please click here.


Residents are advised to call the 24-hour claims hotline at 800-590-5571 to initiate the process.

Click here to download Columbia's outline of the claims process.


Propane

Chief Mansfield has heard from a number of residents seeking to use Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG), commonly referred to as propane, as a temporary substitute for natural gas. Andover Fire Rescue prohibits the use of propane for household purposes where piped natural gas is available from a public utility. However, propane will be permitted when natural gas is unavailable. A permit is required, and there are specific safety regulations that must be followed by contractors and homeowners.

Click here for information on permits and a checklist for propane installations.


Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Chief Mansfield urges residents to replace the batteries in their smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. A limited quantity of 9-volt batteries are available to residents in need. Call 978-475-1281 for more information.


###



UPDATE 2:45 PM, September 27

Columbia Gas has published a "Frequently Asked Questions" page on its website for those in both the affected and unaffected zones. Click here to access that resource.

Andover residents and visitors are asked to refrain from parking on metal construction plates placed on the road temporarily during the rolling construction process. The gas company is in and out of these holes throughout the day. They are working on more temporary "No Parking" signs to make it a little more conspicuous

Food Service Updates

Approximately 25 Andover restaurants remain unable to open or have been forced to offer limited food service.

The Andover Public Health Division is working directly with restaurant owners to help them during the recovery phase.Restaurants must have running hot water for hand-washing purposes to meet the minimum requirements for food service. Hot water is also needed for wash/rinse/sanitize operations for utensils, pots, dishes, etc.The town has streamlined the process for restaurants seeking to permanently or temporarily change fuel sources. Andover Fire Rescue is making staff available to review sketches and plans for new fuel sources, and the Health Division has staff standing by at 978-623-8640 to discuss the implementation of any operational changes that help restaurants re-open.

Restaurants may also obtain propane permits to use outdoor grills for cooking, so long as prep work and plating occur in a sanitary indoor kitchen environment.

Finally, the Health Division is aware of a number of reputable vendors supplying temporary kitchen trailers to help get restaurants up and running. Click here for a list of vendors and other useful guidelines from the Health Division.

Claims Update

The Andover claims center be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Old Town Hall.


UPDATE 10:15 PM, September 26

The Town of Andover has been informed by Columbia Gas that on Monday the company will provide a street-by-street schedule that includes details on the restoration efforts. 

"As lives continue to be disrupted, it is vital that Columbia Gas offer consistent, complete, and accurate information. The company can't afford any further shortcomings in this area," Town Manager Flanagan said. "An unprecedented disaster has struck our communities, and we will continue to hold all parties accountable to the residents, business owners and workers whose lives and livelihoods have been thrown into uncertainty." 

Gas Line Repairs: Thursday

Roadwork and main gas line repair work is scheduled to take place on Chestnut and Carmel Streets on Thursday. Electronic signs will warn of detours and road closures in the area.

Motorists are urged to use caution in the area. Police officers will be posted in the area on details.

Columbia Gas has announced that approximately 49 miles of below-ground gas pipe needs to be replaced in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence. Daily, over the next several weeks, the Town of Andover will announce specific streets or areas that will have road and gas line construction.

Areas under construction will be announced via the news media, town website and social media every day. The town will also make use of its CodeRed emergency notification service to residents affected areas as necessary. 

Full restoration is expected to be completed by approximately Nov. 19. 

Gas Purging

Columbia Gas began purging gas from underground pipes at noon today. There were 43 crews working on the purging process across Lawrence, Andover and North Andover today. 

Columbia Gas will notify the communities of additional purging days and times.

Throughout the purging process, there is the chance that some residents may smell gas. Additional Columbia crews will be on-hand and Andover Fire Rescue has assigned a special task force, including a deputy chief to monitor the purging. If any resident smells gas, indoors or outside, they should dial 911 immediately. 

Gas Purging is scheduled take place Thursday on the following streets in Andover:

Whitmore, Stirling, Filterbed, Sutherland, Carlisle, Fleming, Linwood, Burton, Enmore, Burnham, Arunde, Burnham, Carisbrooke, Balmoral, Magnolia, William, Sherbourne, Windsor, Martingale, Castle Heights, Washington Park, Haverhill, and High.

Other Columbia Gas Updates

Effective today, Columbia Gas has deployed liaisons to the city/town halls in all three communities to enhance communication and coordination between the gas company and the municipal governments. 

Columbia Gas is finalizing the locations of long-term customer care centers in all three communities. 

According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Columbia Gas/NiSource on Wednesday had 749 employees supporting restoration/recovery activities.  Additionally, 1,411 contractors/contract employees were deployed in support of the restoration/recovery Wednesday.

By Friday, Columbia reports there will be 122 construction crews working in the three communities, according to MEMA. 

Attorney General Announces Hotline

Attorney General Maura Healey's office has established a hotline for those with questions and concerns. Residents and business owners may contact the Attorney General’s new hotline at 617-573-5370 in order to connect with specialists in the office who are able to handle questions about legal representation, home improvement scams, and insurance claims from homeowners, renters, and local businesses. 

AG Healey will also give a presentation at Lawrence High School (71 N. Parish Road, Lawrence) on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. to discuss citizens' rights in the aftermath of the Merrimack Valley gas emergency. 

Hot Plate Safety

Chief Mansfield and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services strongly encourage the safe use of hot plates. Residents are urged to review the following guidelines:

  • Only use hot plates and electric skillets on the countertop.
  • Keep a 1-foot circle of safety around it; clear of anything that can catch fire.
  • Turn off when not in use.
  • Be mindful that hot plates stay hotter for longer than gas cooking surfaces.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking; stand by your pan.
  • Teach children to keep 3 giant steps from any cooking (the stove, a grill, or a hot plate).
  • Have a pot cover nearby to “put a lid” on a fire. Then unplug the hot plate if it is safe to do so.
  • Plug hot plates and electric skillets directly into the wall; do not use extension cords or power strips.
  • If the device trips the breaker or blows a fuse, stop using it right away and call an electrician or ask the landlord to so.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Chief Mansfield emphasizes that hot plates should be treated like any kitchen appliance. Do not use power strips or extension cords -- always plug them directly into the wall. 

Temporary Heating 

On Monday, residents began receiving automated phone calls from Columbia Gas regarding temporary electric heating sources. There is no charge for temporary heating. 

Crews from Columbia Gas will conduct assessments to ensure that space heaters can be used safely inside homes.

Residents who need temporary heating solutions and miss the automated phone call can call 855-218-8816 to schedule an appointment for an electrical inspection and space heater delivery.

Individual Gas Customer Assessments/Repairs

A total of 2,038 gas meters are in the affected zone in Andover. 

Phone calls from Columbia Gas to residential and business gas customers have begun to notify them that teams will deploy for damage assessments. Over the last two days, automated phone calls were placed to residents to notify them of damage assessments scheduled for Wednesday through Friday. 

Crews consisting of a plumber, electrician and building assessor will go to all of the homes and businesses in the impacted area, where they will conduct assessments to make sure those buildings are ready for gas restoration and identify any appliances that will need to be replaced. 

These assessments may take several hours, and a resident or business key-holder must be present.

Columbia Gas has made a commitment to the Town of Andover that it will provide residents and business owners 72 hours notice prior to arriving for an assessment. 

Andover municipal employees will be deployed to neighborhoods during each phase of the restoration effort so that residents' and business owners' questions can be answered. The town will provide daily updates as the community continues its recovery. 

Employees and contractors will all carry identification. Contractors will carry a white badge stating that they are an “Authorized Visitor for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts."

These workers will NOT ask for any money, payment, or credit card/banking information. If you have any concerns please contact the Andover Police Department at 978-475-0411.


UPDATE 5:15 PM, September 25

Gas Purging

Columbia Gas has postponed the purging of remnant gas from the system in the affected zone, which was initially scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today, due to weather. Purging will begin at noon tomorrow, Sept. 26.

When the purging does begin, there is the chance that some residents may smell gas. Additional Columbia crews will be on-hand and Andover Fire Rescue has assigned a special task force, including a deputy chief to monitor the purging. If any resident smells gas, indoors or outside, they should dial 911 immediately. 

Columbia Gas will notify the Town of Andover if additional days are required, and it will be communicated to the public. 

Gas Line Repair Work

Initial gas line repair work began yesterday with 20 construction crews conducting preliminary work in Andover. The number of crews working in Andover will rise to 40 by Friday. 

Construction work will begin on Thursday, Sept. 27 on High Street, Haverhill Street, Stirling Street, Carlisle Street and Corbett Street. Additional streets where repair work will be taking place are expected to be announced tomorrow. The construction schedule is subject to change, and the Town of Andover will provide updates as they become available.

Daily, over the next several weeks, the Town of Andover will announce specific streets or areas that will have road and gas line construction.

Areas under construction will be announced via the news media, town website and social media every day. The town will also issue a CodeRED alert to residents within an approximately 1/4 mile radius of any construction. Road detours will also be broadcast daily, if necessary. Full restoration is expected to be completed by approximately Nov. 19.

Hot Plate Distribution 

Town officials have handed out more than 1,000 free hot plates in Andover since Saturday. The hot plates are meant to temporarily assist residents in the affected area with cooking meals as the vital work of replacing gas lines and affected appliances is undertaken. The town has given out all the hot plates it was supplied with but has requested more from Columbia Gas. 

Residents who have not yet collected a hot plate are asked to call Columbia Gas' parent company, NiSource, to schedule a delivery. The number is 855-218-8816.

The Town of Andover expects to receive additional hot plates tomorrow, and they will be distributed to residents at Old Town Hall, 20 Main St., from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Hot Plate Safety

Chief Mansfield and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services strongly encourage the safe use of hot plates. Residents are urged to review the following guidelines:

  • Only use hot plates and electric skillets on the countertop.
  • Keep a 1-foot circle of safety around it; clear of anything that can catch fire.
  • Turn off when not in use.
  • Be mindful that hot plates stay hotter for longer than gas cooking surfaces.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking; stand by your pan.
  • Teach children to keep 3 giant steps from any cooking (the stove, a grill, or a hot plate).
  • Have a pot cover nearby to “put a lid” on a fire. Then unplug the hot plate if it is safe to do so.
  • Plug hot plates and electric skillets directly into the wall; do not use extension cords or power strips.
  • If the device trips the breaker or blows a fuse, stop using it right away and call an electrician or ask the landlord to so.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Chief Mansfield emphasizes that hot plates should be treated like any kitchen appliance. Do not use power strips or extension cords -- always plug them directly into the wall. 

Temporary Heating 

Beginning yesterday, residents began receiving automated phone calls from Columbia Gas regarding temporary electric heating sources. There is no charge for temporary heating.

Crews from Columbia Gas will conduct assessments to ensure that space heaters can be used safely inside homes.

Residents who need temporary heating solutions and miss the automated phone call can call 855-218-8816 to schedule an appointment for an electrical inspection and space heater delivery.

State Tax Penalties Waived

The state Department of Revenue has announced it is taking steps to address the concerns of taxpayers in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover who have been affected by the recent gas explosions.

The DOR recognizes that taxpayers may be unable to comply with state tax filing or payment due dates that occurred on or after the date of the explosions, and would like to assist those taxpayers as much as possible.

The department will waive any penalties associated with any late-filed return or payment that was due on or after Sept. 12, and before Oct. 1. Penalties will be waived for one month, and the DOR will later revisit whether any further extensions should be granted.

If any taxpayer in the affected areas receives notice of a penalty for this period they should reach out to the Department of Revenue at 617-887-6367.

Individual Gas Customer Assessments/Repairs

A total of 2,038 gas meters are in the affected zone in Andover. 

Phone calls from Columbia Gas to residential and business gas customers have begun to notify them that teams will deploy for damage assessments. At 4 p.m. today, an automated call will be placed to the same households that received one yesterday to notify them of damage assessments scheduled for Wednesday through Friday. 

Crews consisting of a plumber, electrician and building assessor will go to all of the homes and businesses in the impacted area, where they will conduct assessments to make sure those buildings are ready for gas restoration and identify any appliances that will need to be replaced. 

These assessments may take several hours, and a resident or business key-holder must be present.

Columbia Gas has made a commitment to the Town of Andover that it will provide residents and business owners 72 hours notice prior to arriving for an assessment. 

Andover municipal employees will be deployed to neighborhoods during each phase of the restoration effort so that residents' and business owners' questions can be answered. The town will provide daily updates as the community continues its recovery. 

Employees and contractors will all carry identification. Contractors will carry a white badge stating that they are an “Authorized Visitor for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts."

These workers will NOT ask for any money, payment, or credit card/banking information. If you have any concerns please contact the Andover Police Department at 978-475-0411.

Fire Rescue Update

Andover Fire Rescue responded yesterday evening to a cooking fire at a home on North Main Street. The fire started when oil in a pan that was left on a hot plate ignited, causing smoke to spread through the home. 

There were no injuries as a result of the fire, and an on-scene investigation indicated that the hot plate did not malfunction.

Propane

Chief Mansfield has heard from a number of residents seeking to use Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG), commonly referred to as propane, as a temporary substitute for natural gas.

Andover Fire Rescue prohibits the use of propane for household purposes where piped natural gas is available from a public utility. However, propane will be permitted when natural gas is unavailable. 

A permit is required, and there are specific safety regulations that must be followed by contractors and homeowners.

Click here for information on permits and a checklist for propane installations. 

Unaffected Area Updates

Columbia Gas informed the Town of Andover that it has restored service to virtually all natural gas customers in the unaffected area. Customers are reminded to call Columbia Gas at 866-388-3239 if they are in the unaffected area and still have not had gas service restored or have not been home to allow a tech inside. If you are in the unaffected area and do not have gas service, you must call this number.


UPDATE 4:10 PM, September 24

Gas Purging

Fire Chief Michael Mansfield reports that tomorrow (Tuesday, 9/24/18), beginning at 9 a.m., Columbia Gas will begin purging the remnant gas from the system in the affected zone.

There is the chance that some residents may smell gas. Additional Columbia crews will be on-hand and Andover Fire Rescue has assigned a special task force, including a deputy chief to monitor the purging. If any resident smells gas, indoors or outside, they should dial 911 immediately.

"This is a routine operation to ensure that any remaining gas trapped in the system will be safely removed so that crews can begin working to replace these lines," Chief Mansfield said.

The process is expected to last most of the day and may require multiple days. Columbia Gas will notify the Town of Andover if additional days are required, and it will be communicated to the public.


UPDATE 2:10 PM, September 24

Temporary Heating 

At 2 p.m. today, residents will begin receiving automated phone calls from Columbia Gas regarding temporary electric heating sources. There is no charge for temporary heating.

Crews from Columbia Gas will conduct assessments to ensure that space heaters can be used safely inside homes.

Residents who need temporary heating solutions and miss the automated phone call can call 855-218-8816 to schedule an appointment.

Individual Gas Customer Assessments/Repairs

At 7 p.m. tonight, phone calls from Columbia Gas will begin to residential and business gas customers to notify them that teams will deploy for damage assessments.

This round of calls will cover appointments for Wednesday-Friday of this week.

Crews consisting of a plumber, electrician and building assessor will go to all of the homes and businesses in the impacted area, where they will conduct assessments to make sure those buildings are ready for gas restoration and identify any appliances that will need to be replaced.

These assessments may take several hours, and a resident or business key-holder must be present.

Columbia Gas has made a commitment to the Town of Andover that it will provide residents and business owners 72 hours notice prior to arriving for an assessment.

Andover municipal employees will be deployed to neighborhoods during each phase of the restoration effort so that residents' and business owners' questions can be answered. The town will provide daily updates as the community continues its recovery.

Employees and contractors will all carry identification. Contractors will carry a white badge stating that they are an “Authorized Visitor for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts."

These workers will NOT ask for any money, payment, or credit card/banking information whatsoever. If you have any concerns please contact the Andover Police Department at 978-475-0411


UPDATE 5:45 PM, September 22

Town officials handed out 700 free hot plates in Andover today to temporarily assist residents in the affected area with cooking meals. The town will continue hot plate distribution on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Town Offices - 36 Bartlet Street.

Claims Update

After meeting with Town Manager Flanagan, Governor Baker's office, and other municipal officials, Columbia Gas has agreed to compensate all of its customers for all losses related to the Merrimack Valley gas emergency.

This includes: 

  • Bodily injury
  • Damage to property
  • Disruption of businesses
  • Inconvenience and disruption of everyday activities caused by loss of use of gas service
  • Efforts to limit or mitigate the loss, such as switching from gas hot water heaters to electric or temporary solutions to heat, hot water, and cooking

Residents are advised to call the 24-hour claims hotline at 1-800-590-5571 to initiate the process.

Columbia Gas has put this commitment in writing. Click here to view Columbia's outline of the claims process

"Columbia Gas will reimburse residential customers for reasonable costs of permanently switching to an alternative fuel source (e.g. electric or oil) for appliances or systems that were fueled by natural gas prior to the outage. If you wish to temporarily switch to appliances and systems that are fueled by sources other than natural gas for the duration of the outage, and then return to gas-fueled appliances, Columbia Gas will reimburse for reasonable costs associated with both the temporary solution as well as the return to gas-fueled appliances and systems."

"Residents may elect to contract directly with an appropriate certified licensed contractor to install appliances and systems that are fueled by an alternative fuel source (e.g. electric or oil). If you do hire such a contractor, we request the licensed contractor provide you detailed receipts, including your name, service address, make/model of parts, and labor, so that Columbia Gas may reimburse you for reasonable costs."

Gas Service Restoration

For an in-depth breakdown of the restoration schedule, including information about the distribution of space heaters and hot plates for residents in the affected area, click here.

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 26, crews consisting of a plumber, electrician, building assessor and a member of the national guard will go to all of the homes and businesses in the impacted area, where they will conduct assessments to make sure those buildings are ready for gas restoration and identify any appliances that will need to be replaced.

Columbia Gas has made a commitment to the Town of Andover that it will provide residents and business owners at least 48 hours notice prior to arriving for an assessment.

Municipal resources will be deployed to neighborhoods during each phase of the restoration effort so that residents' and business owners' questions can be answered. The town will provide daily updates as the community continues its recovery.

Employees and contractors will all carry identification. Contractors will carry a white badge stating that they are an “Authorized Visitor for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts."

These workers will NOT ask for any money, payment, or credit card/banking information whatsoever. If you have any concerns please contact the Andover Police Department at 978-475-0411

Gas Line Repair Work

Starting Monday, Sept. 24, a total of 20 construction crews will begin working in Andover to restore gas service to the affected area. The number of crews working in Andover will rise to 65 on Monday, Oct. 1.

Daily, over the next several weeks, the Town of Andover will announce specific streets or areas that will have road and gas line construction.

Areas under construction will be announced via the news media, town website, and social media every day. The town will also issue a CodeRED alert to residents within an approximately 1/4 mile radius of any construction.

Road detours will also be broadcast daily, if necessary.

Full restoration is expected to be completed by approximately Nov. 19.

Showers for Residents

The hot showers available at Pomp’s Pond (147 Abbot Street) will remain open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday through at least Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m.

A total of 25 showers are available for residents who have been without hot water for more than a week.

Residents need to bring their own shower supplies including towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap. There will be a limited number of showers designated for family use.

There is also an accessible shower for those with mobility impairments located at the Andover Senior Center (30 Whittier Court). Those are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays for as long as they are needed. Anyone who needs accessible shower must call the Senior Center at 978-623-8320 for an appointment time.



UPDATE 5:00 PM, September 22

Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan is providing residents and businesses with the most up to date information on the claims and reimbursement process for expenses related to the Gas Disaster. Click here to view the information sheet on claims and expenses for residents and businesses that were impacted by the Gas Disaster. This information sheet includes details on the reimbursement of costs associated with conversions to electric hot water heaters and other appliances.  

A comprehensive update on town services for those impacted by the Gas Disaster will be provided at 6:00 PM.



UPDATE 2:00 PM, September 22

A shipment of hot plates has arrived at Andover Town Offices (36 Bartlet Street) and are ready for distribution. Hot plates can be picked up in the driveway in front of Town Offices. 

UPDATE 12:30 PM, September 22

There is a temporary delay in hot plate availability due to a limited supply in the initial delivery. As of 12:30 pm, 250 hot plates have been handed out in Andover. As more become available, we will provide an update to the community. Residents can still come to Town Offices until 4:00 pm (36 Bartlet Street) to sign up for a space heater as well as at the Andover Claims Center at Old Town Hall until 5:00 pm (20 Main Street).


UPDATE 8:50PM, Friday, September 21

Change in Hot Plate pick up time.

Due to delays with shipping logistics, there has been a change in the pick-up time for hot plates. 

On Saturday, September 22, hot plates will be available for pickup in the driveway in front of the Town Offices, 36 Bartlet St., from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm (updated 9/21/18 8:50)


UPDATE 2:30PM, Friday, September 21

For an in-depth breakdown of the restoration schedule, including information about the distribution of space heaters and hot plates for residents in the affected area, click here.

Gas Service Restoration

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 26, crews consisting of a plumber, electrician, building inspector and a member of the national guard will go to all of the homes and businesses in the impacted area, where they will conduct assessments to make sure those buildings are ready for gas restoration and identify any appliances that will need to be replaced.

Columbia Gas has made a commitment to the Town of Andover that it will provide residents and business owners at least 48 hours notice prior to arriving for an assessment.

"I have continued to stress the importance of letting community members know in advance of their assessment so they can plan ahead, and so that the restoration process can move as quickly and efficiently as possible," Town Manager Flanagan. "I'm confident that the plan we have in place is the most prudent way to help our residents and business owners get back to normal, and the Town of Andover is deeply committed to seeing this process through to a successful conclusion."

Municipal resources will be deployed to neighborhoods during each phase of the restoration effort so that residents' and business owners' questions can be answered. The town will provide daily updates as the community continues its recovery.

Employees and contractors will all carry identification. Contractors will carry a white badge stating that they are an “Authorized Visitor for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts”. If you have any concerns please contact the Andover Police Department at (978) 475-0411

Hot Water Heaters

Residents and business owners who choose to convert their gas hot water heaters to electric ones may do so on their own via a licensed electrician. The Town of Andover is waiving the conversion fee for this process, and Town Manager Flanagan is actively working to ensure that Columbia Gas reimburses anyone who chooses to make such a conversion.

Gas Line Repair Work

Starting Monday, Sept. 24, 20 construction crews will begin working in Andover to restore gas service to the affected area. The number of crews working in Andover will rise to 65 on Monday, Oct. 1.

Daily, over the next several weeks, the Town of Andover will announce specific streets or areas that will have road and gas line construction.

Areas under construction will be announced via the news media, town website, and social media every day. The town will also issue a CodeRED alert to residents within an approximately 1/4 mile radius of any construction.

Road detours will also be broadcast daily, if necessary.

Full restoration is expected to be completed by approximately November 19, 2018.

Lawrence Regional Recovery Resource Center

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced updated information for the Recovery Resource Center (RRC). The RRC will continue to provide services and programs to meet the needs of residents of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover through at least the end of the week.


Schedule: Friday, Sept. 21: noon to 7 p.m.

Address: Elks Lodge, 652 Andover Street, Lawrence


The Recovery Resource Center will be staffed by representatives of municipal and state agencies as well as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army and disaster relief organizations affiliated with Massachusetts Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). State agencies on-hand include the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Registry of Motor Vehicles, and Division of Insurance (DOI).


The RRC is open to residents and the business community from Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. This is separate from the Columbia Gas claims center that has been opened in Andover.

Columbia Gas Claims Center Update

On Tuesday, Columbia Gas has opened a claims center at the Old Town Hall, 20 Main St. More than1,000 residents and members of the business community have initiated the claims process on-site so far.

The Andover claims center is open noon to 8 p.m. through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Next week, the claims center will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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

Town leaders wish to express their gratitude to those who have come to the claims center, as the residents, business owners, and workers have been calm, orderly, and polite despite the disarray this incident has brought into their lives and livelihoods.

The Department of Revenue has approved a plan, which Town Manager Flanagan has consistently advocated for, that will allow businesses impacted by the gas emergency to file their meals tax payments one month late without penalty. The Department of Revenue will evaluate a further extension of tax deadlines at a later date.

Columbia Gas has committed to pay for the replacement of any appliances that were damaged.

Space Heaters and Hot Plates

On Saturday, Sept. 22, hot plates will be available for pickup in the driveway in front of the Town Offices, 36 Bartlet St., from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm (updated 9/21/18 8:50)

Portable space heaters will be made available to residents who request them, and will be delivered to by electricians who will evaluate homes to ensure they can be used safely. Those in need of a portable space heater should arrange this through a representative at the claims center.

Showers for Residents

The Town of Andover has placed shower trailers at Pomps Pond (147 Abbot St.) equipped with hot water. A total of 25 showers will be available for residents who have been without hot water for a full week.


The showers are open from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will continue as needed. Residents need to bring their own shower supplies including towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap. There will be a limited number of showers designated for family use.


There is also an accessible shower for those with mobility impairments located at the Andover Senior Center (30 Whittier Court). Those are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays for as long as they are needed. Anyone who needs accessible shower must call the Senior Center at 978-623-8320 for an appointment time.


Medical Reserve Corps volunteers are assisting in staffing the trailers.


UPDATE 3:50 PM, Thursday, September 20

A formal gas line repair/replacement plan will be released by Columbia Gas tomorrow (Friday).

Gas Line Repair Work

Over the next several weeks, the Town of Andover and Columbia Gas will announce specific streets or areas that will have road and gas line construction. 

Areas under construction will be announced via the news media, town website, and social media. The town will also issue a CodeRED alert to all residents within an approximately 1/4 mile radius of any construction.

Road detours will also be broadcast daily, if necessary.

Lawrence Regional Recovery Resource Center

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced updated information for the Recovery Resource Center (RRC). The RRC will continue to provide services and programs to meet the needs of residents of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover through at least the end of the week.

Schedule: Thursday, September 20 and Friday September 21: noon to 7 pm

Address: Elks Lodge, 652 Andover Street, Lawrence 

The Recovery Resource Center will be staffed by representatives of municipal and state agencies as well as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army and disaster relief organizations affiliated with Massachusetts Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). State agencies on-hand include the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Registry of Motor Vehicles, and Division of Insurance (DOI).

The RRC is open to residents and the business community from Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. This is separate from the Columbia Gas claims center that has been opened in Andover.

Columbia Gas Claims Center Update

On Tuesday, Columbia Gas has opened a claims center at the Old Town Hall, 20 Main St. More than 600 residents and members of the business community have initiated the claims process on-site so far.

The Andover claims center is open noon to 8 p.m. through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and will continue to operate next week with the same operating hours. Claims can also be initiated by phone at 800-590-5571.

Town leaders wish to express their gratitude to those who have come to the claims center, as the residents, business owners, and workers have been calm, orderly, and polite despite the disarray this incident has brought into their lives and livelihoods.

Showers for Residents

The Town of Andover has placed shower trailers at Pomps Pond (147 Abbot St.) equipped with hot water. A total of 25 showers will be available for residents who have been without hot water for a full week.

The showers are open from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will continue as needed. Residents need to bring their own shower supplies including towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap. There will be a limited number of showers designated for family use.

There is also an accessible shower for those with mobility impairments located at the Andover Senior Center (30 Whittier Court). Those are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays for as long as they are needed. Anyone who needs accessible shower must call the Senior Center at 978-623-8320 for an appointment time.

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers are assisting in staffing the trailers.

Fire Rescue Update

Propane

Chief Mansfield has heard from a number of residents seeking to use Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG), commonly referred to as propane, as a temporary substitute for natural gas.

Andover Fire Rescue prohibits the use of propane for household purposes where piped natural gas is available from a public utility. However, propane will be permitted when natural gas is unavailable.

A permit is required, and there are specific safety regulations that must be followed by contractors and homeowners.

Click here for information on permits and a checklist for propane installations.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Chief Mansfield urges residents to replace the batteries in their smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. A limited quantity of 9-volt batteries are available to residents in need. Call 978-475-1281 for more information.

Heating Safety

With gas service not expected to be restored to the affected zone for several weeks, Chief Mansfield is strongly urging residents to follow these fire safety guidelines:

  • Ensure there are working smoke/CO detectors in every level and outside bedrooms
  • Test smoke/CO detectors monthly
  • Chimneys should be professionally cleaned annually
  • Wood and pellet stoves may only be installed with a permit
  • Keep debris, clothing, and anything else that can burn at lest three feet away from wood and pellet stoves or space heaters
  • Dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid and store the container away from the house/garage/porch/deck.
  • Do not use a space heater as your primary heat source
  • Plug space heaters directly into walls or only use heavy-duty or appliance-grade extension cords
  • Never leave space heaters unattended -- do not run them while you are not home
  • Portable kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts for home use

Unaffected Area Updates

Columbia Gas today informed the Town of Andover that it has restored service to 4,269 natural gas customers in the unaffected area. According to Columbia,154 gas customers remain offline in the unaffected area. Of those, 87 meters are being actively worked on at this time, and 67 customers have not been home to allow a gas technician inside.

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. If you are in the unaffected area and do not have gas service, you must call this number.

Affected Area Updates

The town has been informed that the affected area includes gas customers NORTH of the intersection of RT. 28 at Salem St. (Toward Lawrence and the Merrimack River.)

The unaffected area includes those SOUTH of the intersection of Rt. 28 at Salem Street and those WEST of Beacon Street at Reservation Road (Toward Tewksbury).

As soon as the Town has a specific list or map, it will be released to the public.

In the affected zone, all gas customers may have sustained damage to their service lines, furnaces, water heaters, and/or gas appliances. NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas, 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, generously donated by Suffolk Construction Company, 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.

Note to contractors: The trailer is only for gas permits. Building permits and electrical permits (e.g. a permit to install an electric hot water heater to replace a gas one) must be pulled at Andover Town Hall (36 Bartlet St.)

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 and Food 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.

The Senior Center will continue the complimentary lunch program through next week.

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.


UPDATE 7:30 PM, Wednesday, September 19


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

Showers for Residents

The Town of Andover has placed shower trailers at Pomps Pond (147 Abbot St.) equipped with hot water. A total of 25 showers will be available for residents who have been without hot water for a full week. The showers will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will continue as needed. Residents need to bring their own shower supplies including towels. There will be a limited number of showers designated for family use. There is also an accessible shower for those with mobility impairments located at the Andover Senior Center (30 Whittier Court). Those are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon for as long as they are needed. Anyone who needs accessible shower must call the Senior Center at 978-623-8320 for an appointment time. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers will be assisting in staffing the trailers.

Business Information

More than 100 Andover businesses, including 67 food service establishments, are in the affected zone and are losing money each day that they do not have gas service.

"Restaurants can't cook without gas, and they can't wash dishes without hot water, and we will not forget our business community. They are the lifeblood of our town," Town Manager Flangan said. "Our entire downtown is in the affected zone, and we must do what we can for business owners and workers. We are actively working and advocating for our business community to help them recover lost revenue."

The Andover Economic Development Council is actively working with the business community to guide owners through this situation. By the end of the week, the town expects to announce a plan and programs aimed at helping businesses repair damage, restore operations, and flourish.

Claims Center Update

Yesterday, Columbia Gas has opened a claims center at the Old Town Hall, 20 Main St. A total of 300 residents initiated the claims process yesterday and hundreds more are expected today. The Andover claims center is open noon to 8 p.m. through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Claims can also be initiated by phone at 800-590-5571.

Fire Rescue Update

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

Chief Mansfield urges residents to replace the batteries in their smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. A limited quantity of 9-volt batteries are available to residents in need. Call 978-475-1281 for more information.

Heating Safety. With gas service not expected to be restored to the affected zone for several weeks, Chief Mansfield is strongly urging residents to follow these fire safety guidelines:

  • Ensure there are working smoke/CO detectors in every level and outside bedrooms
  • Test smoke/CO detectors monthly
  • Chimneys should be professionally cleaned annually
  • Wood and pellet stoves may only be installed with a permit
  • Keep debris, clothing, and anything else that can burn at lest three feet away from wood and pellet stoves or space heaters
  • Dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid and store the container away from the house/garage/porch/deck.
  • Do not use a space heater as your primary heat source
  • Plug space heaters directly into walls or only use heavy-duty or appliance-grade extension cords
  • Never leave space heaters unattended -- do not run them while you are not home
  • Portable kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts for home use

Emergency Operations Center

The Andover Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to operate, and has operated continuously since 5 p.m. Thursday. Located at the Andover Public Safety complex, the EOC is made up of department heads and inter-agency liaisons from Andover Police, Fire Rescue, Town Manager's Office, Public Works, Schools, Health Division, Facilities, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Columbia Gas.

Unaffected Area Updates

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. However, the town has not received updated numbers since 10 a.m. yesterday. At the last update, out of the 3,021 customers in the unaffected area, 2,493 had been turned back on. 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.


Affected Area Updates

There are 1,831 gas customers in the affected area. The town has been informed that the affected area includes gas customers NORTH of RT. 28 at Salem St. (Toward Lawrence and the Merrimack River.) The unaffected area includes those SOUTH of Rt. 28 at Salem Street and those WEST of Beacon Street at Reservation Road (Toward Tewksbury). As soon as the Town has a specific list or map, it will be released to the public.

In the affected zone, 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, generously donated by Suffolk Construction Company, 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.

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 and Food 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.



 



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

Additional 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.govand 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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