Mass. has seen its share of gas-related disasters
Thursday’s series of gas explosions in Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover may be the biggest, and most dramatic, episode of its kind in Massachusetts. But it’s not the first.
From East Boston to Attleboro to Springfield, gas surges and explosions have happened from time to time in Massachusetts, sometimes with fatal consequences. Most were caused by accidents, either by utility workers or contractors working near utility lines.
Here are a few of the more prominent incidents in recent years.
■ One night in 1983, dozens of residents of East Boston called 911 reporting gas smells, fires, and stove pilot lights a foot high. A broken water main had flooded a gas regulator, prompting a surge of gas in the neighborhood. Within a few hours, the problem was fixed, and no one was hurt.
■ Two people were killed and five hospitalized in March 1998 when a gas line ruptured during repairs to a nearby water main and caused an explosion that leveled a house in Attleboro.
■ Two sisters, ages 4 and 5, died in 2002, when their small apartment building in Hopkinton was leveled by a gas explosion. NiSource eventually settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $17.2 million.
■ One house exploded and services were shut off to 1,600 houses in Lexington in 2005, when a KeySpan Energy worker unwittingly connected a high-pressure gas line to a low-pressure line.
■ A string of natural gas explosions in the winter of 2008-2009 killed people in Somerville, Scituate, and Manchester, N.H., and severely injured a man in Gloucester.
■ An explosion rocked downtown Springfield on the day after Thanksgiving in 2012, when a utility worker punctured a gas line, prompting an explosion that blew up Scores Gentlemen’s Club. No one was killed in the blast, which happened around 5:25 p.m., but at least 19 people were injured, including nine firefighters.