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Columbia Gas of Massachusetts assesses buildings in next step after gas blasts

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is including full assessments of homes and businesses in its natural gas service restoration efforts in communities near Boston following a deadly series of fires and explosions.

Based on information gathered from the assessments, the NiSource Inc. utility will make necessary installations of new appliances, remove damaged appliances, and repair or replace gas lines inside homes and businesses, according to an Oct. 5 news release. Columbia Gas also released an interactive map to allow customers to check the schedule and status of installation projects in their neighborhoods.

After replacing gas lines and installing appliances, Columbia Gas will perform final safety checks before restoring gas service. The utility increased staffing to accelerate restoration, according to Pablo Vegas, chief restoration officer for NiSource. The work spans 63 projects within eight zones in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, Mass., and involves more than 3,000 employees.

Columbia Gas, formally known as Bay State Gas Co., expects to complete its restoration and upgrade plan by Nov. 19, about two months after an overpressurization of the pipeline system caused a number of fires and explosions that killed one person and injured at least two dozen others. Columbia Gas is replacing about 45 miles of pipeline and 6,100 service lines.