NTSB releases findings on Merrimack Valley gas explosions


FILE – In this Sept. 13, 2018 file image from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume the roof of a home following an explosion in Lawrence, Mass. Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and its parent, NiSource Inc., announced Monday, July 29, 2019, a settlement had been reached in class action lawsuits resulting from the disaster across several towns north of Boston. (WCVB via AP, File)

MERRIMACK VALLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Federal authorities say weak management and poor oversight were to blame for the deadly gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley in September 2018.

The blasts and fires caused widespread damage in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. They also resulted in the death of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon.

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board released its findings after more than a year of investigations. It blamed the explosions on inadequate management by Columbia Gas.

The NTSB says a cast iron main was improperly abandoned without the relocation of regulator sensing lines to the new main. The resulting over-pressurization of the area’s natural gas distribution system caused the destruction.

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