FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Sept. 14, 2018
Media contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
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 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 [email protected] regarding 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 40 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.
Public Health Director Thomas Carbone reports that the Andover Health Division is working with restaurant owners to make sure they are able to salvage or dispose of food properly. Health officials have also been in touch with long term care facilities and assessing their needs and providing services as needed.
Town building inspectors have assessed 33 buildings that sustained structural damage due to gas explosions and/or fires.
The Greater River Valley Medical Reserve Corps is activated and its volunteer members are staffing the reception centers at the Senior Center and Youth Center
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. The White House has also reached out to Town Manager Flanagan to offer support.
All Andover Public School events scheduled for this weekend are cancelled, and Andover School leaders are in the process of reaching out to students and families affected by yesterday’s incident.
All fires in Andover were extinguished as of 6:45 p.m. yesterday evening. 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.
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.
Always dial 911 to report a gas emergency.