NTSB Plans Sept. 24 Meeting to Determine Probable Cause of Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

Andover Police worked in concert with gas technicians to assist residents in the wake of the Merrimack Valley gas-related fire disaster. (Courtesy photograph)

The National Transportation Safety Board plans to convene later this month in Washington, D.C. to determine the probable cause of the September 2018 gas-related fire disaster that killed a Lawrence teen and left 22 others, including three firefighters, injured.

The public is invited to attend the session overseen by the Board’s five members. It will also be live-streamed online starting at 9:30 a.m.

Two months ago, Columbia Gas settled with the family of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, the teen killed when an over-pressurized gas line resulted in what some city officials called an “Armageddon-like” scenario in the Merrimack Valley. Rondon was sitting inside a car when a chimney fell onto the car after a house explosion.

Terms of the settlement were not released, though Columbia Gas also vowed to establish a scholarship fund in Rondon’s memory.

In May, Columbia Gas and parent company NiSource said it would pay Lawrence, Andover and North Andover an $80 million settlement, with $57 million earmarked for road repairs, $10 million for expense reimbursement and $12.8 million for claims and losses incurred by the municipalities affected by the disaster.

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