Gas Explosions Rock the Merrimack Valley
Recently, our neighbors in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence suffered extreme hardship. Over-pressured gas lines serviced by Columbia Gas Company burst. The burst lines caused mass fires and explosions. The result is at least 25 injuries, the death of a teenager, mass evacuations., and countless residents without gas service. Residents from these communities are suffering a tremendous hardship. For many, there is no quick fix. Photo Credit to Burlington Free Press/AP
Many residents are still without gas. It may be weeks or even months before their gas is restored. Our thoughts, sympathies, and prayers are with the residents of these communities.
Catastrophic accidents such as these wreak havoc on lives. Basic things we typically take for granted, such as showering, transporting children, accounting for personal belongings, staying warm, finding aid, and dealing with insurance companies create tremendous anxiety and leave a complicated web to navigate. Those with few financial resources or family support are the hardest hit.
If you or someone you know is impacted directly by this catastrophe, the Massachusetts Attorney General has offered some terrific advice.
- Make a list of valuable items in your home (furniture, jewelry, electronics, cash, etc.). This will help complete claims paperwork later.
- Keep all receipts for any money you spend related to this emergency, including hotel bills, monies paid to hospitals, replacement clothing or baby supplies, etc.
- Document any damage with pictures or videos. Do not dispose of any damaged items unless instructed otherwise.
- Use reasonable means to save and preserve property that has not been destroyed. If possible, board or tarp open areas exposed to the elements to prevent water damage.
- Public adjusters may attempt to contact you. They will offer to handle your insurance claim on your behalf. Public adjusters act as your representative in dealing with an insurance company in exchange for a percentage of your insurance settlement. There is no requirement that you hire a public adjuster to handle your claim. If you decide to enter into an agreement with a public adjuster, read the contract carefully before signing it.
- Many renters in the region may be unable to safely occupy their homes for days or weeks. Some housing may be permanently uninhabitable.
- Renters should contact their landlord and notify them in writing about the extent of damage to rental units.
- Residents may want to document damage with photographs from their unit if the unit can be entered safely.
- If units are uninhabitable, renters should discuss alternate housing that the landlord can provide or withhold rent while the renter finds other housing.
- Renters should review the terms of their leases to hold informed conversations.
- All rental housing in Massachusetts must meet state standards for health and safety.
Please be aware that the Massachusetts General Attorney’s office is not able to give you legal advice, nor act as your personal attorney.
Our neighbors and fellow citizens and Massachusetts residents need our help. If you are like us, you want to help in any way you can. Be careful to vet any charities before donating. There are many scammers trying to take advantage of the tremendous hardships many faces. Do not add to the list of victims. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office offers some great advice and resources when you choose to extend your generosity. Please consult their site when choosing a charity. Take the time to perform due diligence. Research and know who you are donating to. We want to make sure the dollars and items being donated are directed to those who need the aid.
We Can Help
If you or someone you know has been devastated or impacted by this tragic disaster, feel free to contact one of the experienced attorneys at Tramontozzi Law Offices. We have significant experience assisting clients who have been victims of catastrophic accidents. You may reach us at our office at (781) 665-0099. An initial consultation is free.