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Another Week- Another Disaster


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This is a true disaster, affecting thousands of people, and not one of my stupid gripes.  On Thursday around 4:30-4:45, I was picking up a disabled car on I-495 North in Methuen.  I observed a number of police cruisers and fire trucks heading south in a big hurry.  My daughter called me and told me that there were a number of natural gas explosions in Andover, North Andover, and South Lawrence (my shop is in North Lawrence, and my daughter works in Andover).  So I got off at the next exit to reverse direction.  As I drove south, I noticed several plumes of smoke in the sky.  I was to deliver the car to an address in South Lawrence, which proved to be tricky.  The customer's house was right around the corner from a multi-family house that was on fire, and burning out of control.  I dropped the car, we pushed it into the driveway, and I got the heck out of there.  I slowly fought my way to the north side of the river, and I got to the shop. 


I learned that there were a total of around 70 structure fires burning simultaneously within the three towns.  There were 35 fires in Andover alone.  Andover is a small town.  They probably don't have 35 fires in 6 months.  There was a house in Lawrence that completely blew apart.  The house had a fireplace chimney on the side of the house.  The chimney split in half.  And the upper half got blown up in the air.  And it fell on a parked car in the driveway.  There were 3 kids sitting in the car.  The driver was killed.  And the other 2 kids were seriously injured.  The driver was 18 years old.  And he just got his driver's license the previous day, and he was going out to celebrate with his friends.  


I has been reported that the explosions were the result of the gas line pressure rising too high for some unknown reason.  And it basically blew up every furnace in every basement.  So the Mayor ordered everyone to evacuate their homes, and go to shelters that were set up.  They blocked all access to South Lawrence from 495, and any other roads that lead into the city.  They shut off the gas to all three towns.  And they shut off the electricity. 


There were fire trucks here in town from all over eastern MA, southern NH, and I saw a couple from Maine.  Unbelievable. 


For me, about 2/3 of my operating area was closed and off limits.  No one was at home.  Everyone was evacuated.  So it's been slow the past few days. 


This morning, the affected residents were allowed to return back to their homes.  The electricity is slowly getting turned back on.  But there will be no gas service for at least a couple of months.  So those folks better get used to cold showers and microwave dinners.


Considering the fact that there were 70 working structure fires burning simultaneously in the three towns, with the help of massive mutual aid, they did a great job containing all of the fires.  Nobody could train for a huge incident like that.

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I know where Wenham is.  Right next to Hamilton, I believe.  Thank you for your service.  Today they were turning on gas service to houses that were not damaged and are inhabitable.  There are a lot of people who won't have gas for a while.


So today, I renewed my driver's license.  It is one of those Federal approved Real IDs, which will allow me to fly on a plane, if I ever have the need to again.  So after that, I went searching for lunch.  Every place I tried, like Boston Market and Taco Bell, were closed.  They had power, but no gas.  There are three grocery stores in that area; 2 Stop & Shop stores and a Market Basket.  If any of those stores had generators, I'll bet they were idle.  Most generators today are powered by natural gas.  And there was no gas.  If they powered them with propane, then they'd be okay.  I hate to think about all of the meat, frozen food, milk, and ice cream that ended up in a dumpster.

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