Gas line scare in Hampden County a reminder of the Merrimack Valley explosions

Hampden County

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – Columbia Gas said gas lines in both Palmer and Monson were briefly over pressurized Tuesday afternoon around 1 p.m. Crews were able to restore the lines within six minutes, but, residents weren’t made aware of the situation until 5 p.m. once the town alerted them. 

“That’s a need to know now kind of thing,” said Monson resident Steve Turner. “It’s actually very scary. Natural gas is nothing to mess with.”

A Columbia Gas spokesperson said the company did immediately notify local police and fire departments. 

Columbia Gas added that there were no safety concerns during the situation, but it reminded some of the explosions in the Merrimack Valley in September that killed one person and left thousands without heat or hot water for weeks. 

“I saw the trucks going by and thought to myself as a joke, I wonder if the same thing is happening here,” said Carl Williams of Palmer. “I found out later in the day that it is. It almost did.”

Columbia Gas said that the incident in the Merrimack Valley couldn’t have happened in Monson or Palmer because the gas meters have regulators on them that prevent over pressurization. 

Still, residents said they feel uneasy. 

“We have a beautiful town here, and it is concerning,” said Randy Pascale. 

22News has reached out to Columbia Gas several times for more information on these regulators, but have not heard back. 

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