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Space Heaters Given To Merrimack Valley Residents Without Gas

LAWRENCE (CBS) - Small teams of an electrician, a guardsman, and potentially a firefighter are going door-to-door in Lawrence Monday to assess whether homes need space heaters. Columbia Gas is working with community leaders to restore and reimburse Merrimack Valley residents after a gas pipeline burst two weeks ago, killing one, injuring dozens, and forcing thousands of evacuations.

The National Guard arrived in Lawrence just in time to pack up the space heaters, and send them out.

"This morning it was under 50 degrees pretty chilly at 6:30 but yeah we are doing what we can do get here," 1st Lt. Samuel Giard said.

Each space heater was paired with a smoke detector. However, in order to get one, the homes had to be deemed safe first.

"That will deem whether a.) the house is safe for an electric heaters and b.) the amount that house can take," he said.

The teams have to check out over 600 addresses and some people are eager to get one.

"I'm sensitive to the cold I don't like to be cold," Luis Ortiz said.

"They are supposed to go house to house but they need one, they need one... he needs three over there because of the three floors," Bill McAlevey added.

This as Governor Charlie Baker and Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera met with businesses struggling to stay open with no gas. Both, promising progress, explaining they will work with banks and lenders for loans to help businesses stay afloat, understanding time is running out and businesses could lose money, workers, and customers.

Those passing out the space heaters Monday hoping they can give out as many as possible.

"It's chilly it's the fall hopefully we can make a dent today and tomorrow and see what happens," Jason Cunningham said.

Until then... "Put another blanket on you know, but the hot water would be nice," Bill McAlevey said.

Columbia Gas will ultimately have to replace 48 miles of pipeline in the area. The date for full gas restoration remains November 19th.


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