Lawrence Gas Emergency

UPDATE: 09/18/2018 3:30pm

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UPDATE: 09/17/2018 9:30pm

Updated Recovery Resource Center Location for Tuesday, September 18 

Lawrence Regional Recovery Resource Center
Tuesday, September 18, 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Thursday, September 20, 12:00 Noon– 7:00 PM
Friday, September 21, 12:00 Noon – 7:00 PM
Address: Elks Lodge, 652 Andover Street, Lawrence, MA

Customers who need assistance related to the natural gas incident in Merrimack Valley can get help at a new location.  


UPDATE: 4:50 PM Sunday, September 16, 2018

As we continue to support the people and communities impacted by the events in the Merrimack Valley area to ensure public safety and restore service as quickly and as safely as possible, below is an operational status report of our progress as of September 16, 2018 @ 15:00.

There are 26 organization supporting this effort.


FireUPDATE: 11:11 AM Sunday, September 16, 2018

There is an active working 3 alarm fire on Diamond Street. Mutual aid is on scene to assist the Lawrence Fire Department.

What we know right now:

This address was not in the affected area of the gas disaster from Thursday.

The fire is completely unrelated to the gas disaster.

Residents in south Lawrence should continue to return to their homes- be vigilant and check your home when you arrive. If you see something or smell something say something - 211 for information and 911 for emergencies.

Lawrence - South Lawrence 7:00 AM - Return Home

  • The Evacuation of South Lawrence Continues – and will be lifted at 7am tomorrow morning.

  • Shelters will remain open at the Arlington, Parthum Sch. And we have opened an additional 3rd shelter at Central

  • Please be patient

  • The house to house inspection and gas clearing process is time consuming but important.

  • You will hear reports of lights coming on in neighborhoods across the City over night.   

  • Do not return to your homes before 7am.

  • All along North Andover & Andover have had different and distinct recovery processes then the City. This is appropriate and warranted for the reasons I discussed yesterday. Lawrence families affected by this gas disaster will be safest by waiting until 7am to return to their home.

  • because all of the houses have not had there Gas turned Off & cleared.

  • Of all the people evacuated – we know of a dozen families that are permanently displaced.

  • Tomorrow at 1 pm at the site of one of the shelters the Arlington School the City of Lawrence & MEMA will be having a Housing recovery resource center focused on those families and others that we become aware of.

  • We also have helped Columbia Gas run its 1st Biz/Residential Claims center at the Lawrence Public Library where they took claims and handed out debit cards to customers. It will reopen tomorrow at 9am at the Old high school across the street from the Library.

  • We did have 3 calls for gas leaks in the City today. We verified 2 common class 1 gas leaks not specifically related to the incident on Thursday. Both are either closed are in the final stages of being closed.

  • Again if you need to get a question answered or verified you can call 211 if there is an emergency please call 911

  • The City will continue to update the community through our website www.cityoflawrence.comgasemergency

UPDATE: 2:30 PM Saturday, September 15, 2018

Eversource Continues Coordinating Response to Gas Incidents in Massachusetts 

Progress Made in First Step of Multi-Phase Process

Readiness condition: Responding


  • As Eversource crews work alongside Columbia Gas and mutual aid crews through today, we continue making progress in Phase One of our natural gas restoration efforts in the Merrimack Valley. That first phase is where we must shut off all 8,600 gas meters and enter every home and business to ensure it is clear of natural gas. As of 1:00 p.m. this afternoon, we have cleared 5,202.
  • We have 620 people working in the field to finish that job and anticipate having the work completed today.
  • The next phase is assuring the safety of the gas system in the area.
  • During the third phase, we will assess appliances for any issues.  
  • Finally, phase four will consist of restoring gas service to each of those 8,600 meters.
  • While we do this work, we ask any Columbia Gas customers who shut off their own gas to call Columbia Gas at 1-866-388-3239.
  • In instances where we aren’t able to connect with a homeowner, and your gas meter is located inside your home, as a last resort, locksmiths are being used. Shutting off all gas meters is critical step which MUST be completed. We are working very closely with local agencies to help us perform this important safety measure. Our gas technicians are always accompanied by a local first responder, when they enter your home to shut off the gas meter.
  • We’re here to support the communities and state government, ensure public safety and restore service as quickly and as safely as possible. We commit to you that we will keep you updated regularly with clear and open communications throughout the process.


Q.) When can I get back in my house? When will my house have gas again?

This situation is unprecedented. We have brought in scores of additional resources to restore service as soon as possible. However, we expect restoration to take an extended period of time. We are working with emergency responders to visit each home and business to shut off gas service and make sure the home is safe. When an area is complete, the electric company can restore power. We will need to visit each home again to restore gas service. 

Q.) I shut off my gas. How do I turn it back on?

DO NOT attempt to turn your gas back on. Contact Columbia Gas to make an appointment to have your service restored. 

Q.) I’m concerned my home isn’t safe. Can you check my service?

Yes, contact Columbia Gas to schedule a safety check. 

Q.) Will I still have to pay my bill when I’m not getting gas?

When the gas is shut off, there is no gas running through your meter – so there are no charges for gas usage. If you have further questions about your bill, please contact Columbia Gas. 

Q.) Who do I call if my property is damaged?

Please call the Columbia Gas Property Claims Helpline at 1-800-590-5571. You can also visit our Property Claims Center at the Lawrence Public Library (51 Lawrence Ave.) from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekdays. 

Q.) I have expenses for hotel/food. Will you reimburse me?

Columbia Gas will reimburse displaced residents for reasonable accommodations until it is safe to return home. You can request reimbursement by contacting our Property Claims Helpline at 1-800-590-5571. Keep track of your receipts and expenses so you can be reimbursed.

sealsUPDATE: 11:00 AM Saturday, September 15, 2018

No Residents in South Lawrence should return to their homes. 

What we know as of now approximately 5,015 gas meters were impacted in Lawrence.

  • 2,274 - Meters Shut-off & Homes cleared
  • 323 - Number of technician teams going house to house  

The process of going through neighborhoods door to door with the local police & fire. 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, Columbia Gas, and National Grid will provide regular updates about service restoration.

The evacuation of South Lawrence remains in effect. 

Please do not return to your home until further notice. Even if you hear power is on do not return. If you return home, Do not turn the gas back on by yourself if it has been shut off. Call Columbia Gas at 1-800-688-6160 

Important Numbers Safety:

  • Information- 211
  • Emergency - 911 - Emergencies Only

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts

  • Property Claims Hotline – 1-800-590-5571
  • Dedicated Customer Service – 1-866-388-3239
  • Gas Emergency – 1-800-525-8222

Municipal Contact Information: 

Twitter: @danrivera01843, @col1853

We recommend that you continue to monitor the city website for more information and live updates:

If you smell gas at your residence. Evacuate to a safe area and call 911 immediately.

For emergencies, call 9-1-1.

Shelter for Evacuees

American Red Cross of Massachusetts - Four evacuation centers have been set up for those in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover who have been displaced by the disaster. Visit @RedCrossMA on Twitter for the latest information.

  • Parthum Elementary School at 255 East Haverhill St., Lawrence
  • Arlington Middle School at 150 Arlington St., Lawrence

Mass211 - If you need non-emergency assistance or information, call 2-1-1.

Ways to Help

Lawrence Senior Center (155 Haverhill St. - Enter from north of the City)

Donations of non-perishable foods, including: fresh and dried fruits, granola bars, small juice boxes, animal crackers, food for infants, nuts and trail mixes, applesauce, pudding, etc.


  • Hand sanitizers, 
  • alcohol pads, 
  • socks, 
  • underwear for kids and adults, 
  • Blankets,
  • toiletries, 
  • feminine products, 
  • toilet paper, 
  • towels

Essex County Community Fund

A Lawrence Emergency Fund has been created for those affected by the explosions and fires. Donate at Lawrence Emergency Fund or call 978-777-8876. 

American Red Cross

To donate, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit Red Cross donate website. To volunteer, visit Red Cross volunteer website.  


The MSPCA's Nevins Farm has been providing for displaced animals. Donations accepted at MSPCA website.

Important Links:

MEMA / National Grig Power Outage Map

Replacement SNAP Benefits