Boston suburbs gas pipeline accident biggest since 2010: Safety bureau

9/14/2018 2:11:00 PM

Source: Business Insurance

(Reuters) — Some 8,000 people in Boston’s suburbs had little hope of returning home soon as investigators scrambled on Friday to find out the cause of dozens of gas explosions that destroyed scores of homes in the biggest such accident in nearly a decade.


The blasts on Thursday killed one person and left more than a dozen injured in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence and left more than 18,000 homes and businesses without power, according to emergency officials.


Massachusetts State Police said around 70 fires, explosions or investigations of gas odor had been reported Thursday, though by Friday afternoon officials said that all had been extinguished. It was unclear how many of the fires and explosions were in homes or other locations.


It was the largest natural gas pipeline accident, in terms of the number of buildings involved, in the United States since 2010, when an interstate natural gas transmission line operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. ruptured in San Bruno, California, destroying 38 buildings, damaging 70 more, and killing eight people, according to a Reuters analysis of incident reports from the National Transportation and Safety Bureau.


Investigators suspected that over-pressurization of a gas main belonging to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts led to the series of explosions and fires, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said on Thursday.