Officials say preparations for a road paving project triggered a gas leak that caused hundreds of residents of a Massachusetts city still reeling from last year’s destructive gas explosions to be temporarily evacuated.
The state Department of Public Utilities, utility company Columbia Gas and the City of Lawrence say contractors working for the city on Friday accidentally punctured an active gas main while conducting a routine water valve check, prompting the evacuations.
Officials say their preliminary investigation also suggests a gas valve used in the incident wasn’t compliant and should have been disabled last year. Columbia Gas says it’s bringing 45 similar ones into compliance.
The utility, which was blamed for last year’s deadly explosions, also opened a temporary claims center in Lawrence on Monday for people seeking compensation.
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