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 Post subject: Massachusetts gas fires
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:35 pm 
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To fill those in other parts of the country in, this afternoon around 70 houses in the Merrimack Valley area north of Boston started exploding & burning to the ground.

It has been determined that someone/ones turned the natural-gas pressure in the region way too high. Emergency workers are going door-to-door, turning gas & electricity off & evacuating people.

political musing; please look away if it will bother you:

So far the news people haven't brought it up, but National Grid workers who take care of things like gas pressure have been on strike for over a month, & the company keeps assuring the public that responsible people they've brought in to do the strikers' jobs have things under control. I don't know if the Merrimack Valley is under National Grid or not.

political musing over:

Here in Somerville my gas supplier is calling itself Eversource these days. Used to be Nstar (which is the name for an insect's stage of development, but apparently they didn't know that when they named themselves).


News conference now on TV says 8,000 homes are affected.

What's really nice is that one of the govt spokespeople just repeated everything in Spanish.

Gas co up in the Merrimack Valley was just announced as Columbia Tech.

https://www.necn.com/news/new-england/M ... 88501.html

Now they're calling the company Columbia Gas.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:13 pm 
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The local 1st-responders are covering safety, the Feds are investigating cause.

Beyond that earlier statement that gas pressure was astronomically high, no-one's talking about cause.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:18 pm 
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From what I'm currently looking up, National Grid provides the utilities to local companies.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:42 am 
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ghostjmf wrote:
Here in Somerville my gas supplier is calling itself Eversource these days. Used to be Nstar (which is the name for an insect's stage of development, but apparently they didn't know that when they named themselves).
The arthropod term is "instar."

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:15 am 
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They're now saying upgrade work was being done on the gas lines, before the explosions. Also that a gas line broke.

And yes, Estonut, I know the insect stage is spelled "instar". Its just weird that the closeness in pronunciation didn't come up when the gas company decided to call themselves Nstar.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:42 am 
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Congressman Moulton is asking why the gas co took 5 hours to put "we are having a problem" on their web site. The fires were on the news instantly, of course.

Getting the news to people to (A) turn the gas to the house off, if they could & (B) GET OUT was of paramount importance.

This news was transmitted by the news media, not the gas company.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:53 am 
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Glad you're safe. Creepy creepy horrible situation.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:07 pm 
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Latest news is that fixing problem just taken away from Columbia by governor & given to Eversource.

Feds didn't show up 'til this afternoon.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:18 pm 
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ghostjmf wrote:
This news was transmitted by the news media, not the gas company.
Similar to what's happening in the Carolinas. Even though the government now has more tools to inform citizens directly, most people still get emergency information from the news media. And some were swayed to evacuate, not by government officials, but by a trusted local weatherman.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:03 pm 
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ghostjmf wrote:
Latest news is that fixing problem just taken away from Columbia by governor & given to Eversource.

Feds didn't show up 'til this afternoon.


What powers have y'all granted your governor? Does the state own the gas lines?

Why are the Feds even there?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:08 pm 
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BiT: Feds are just there to help. And investigate for terrorism, which this doesn't look like.

Columbia Gas isn't getting back to anyone. Congressman, Senators & apparently not the governor either. Gov apparently learned from his goof a few years ago when the MTA (as in "Charlie and the" ) wasn't working because of iced-up tracks during snowstorms (it comes out of its tunnels in various places) & Gov Baker preferred to engage in a verbal urination contest with the head of the MBTA instead of someone getting the tracks cleared.

I don't know by what authority he's giving checking out the gas lines over to another company. Apparently he can. 8,000 houses that haven't burned down needed to be checked out before people will be allowed back into them & only 3,000 have been checked. Columbia Gas isn't fighting this.

Oh yeah, its an officially declared disaster. Feds invited.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:44 pm 
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Not disaster. "State of Emergency".


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:47 pm 
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Last quote I heard from Eversource is "some people won't be back in for months".

Of course it will be Columbia Gas that gets sued.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:08 pm 
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NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), which has jurisdiction over pipelines, will be in the area for at least a week.

Eversource says that Eversource is looking for irregularities in pipeline design.

State police helicopter with infrared detector spotted more leaks underground last night & alerted firefighters.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:08 am 
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This isn't the 1st "bad pipes" gasline tragedy around Boston, just the biggest. Usually its one house. And the owners haven't a clue, because there's no gas leak until the gas co increases the gas pressure because someone else complained their stove won't light.

My sister thought for years her trickle of shower water was the city's low water pressure, & that she'd have to have floors ripped up for better pipes &/or to fix leaks because the pipes are embedded in foundation cement (awful design) until the plumber she got when the sink in kitchen got screwy proved that the shower problem was a clogged fixture in closet wall at back of shower.

Plumber said they'd figured that would be it because they'd seen it in other houses built by the same jerks.

It helps to have people checking any pipes who are familiar with pipe construction in the area, which Columbia says they are.


Last edited by ghostjmf on Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:31 am 
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Reading one of the articles that cites how many old cast iron pipes are still in existence in the northeast is concerning. Most of those lines are 50 years and older, some installed before the turn of the last century. That is crazy. Of course it is expensive and disruptive to replace those pipes and I'm sure both the gas companies and local governments share the blame.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:50 am 
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They officially let people back into their homes this morning. Those among the 8,600 who still have homes.

They've "cleared the gas meters" & that allows them to let the electricity be turned back on. No mention in the news blurb if/when the gas will be back on.

Those of us on natural-gas-supplied houses not only heat the homes & cook with gas, we also use it to heat water for washing things, including ourselves. Using some electrical pots to heat water for washing is going to be cumbersome, but I suspect will be done for a while.

Unless they really are turning the gas back on. I'll check.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:50 pm 
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They are *not* turning the gas back on yet.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:20 pm 
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Declaring the state of emergency is what gave Gov Baker the right to take the project of fixing this mess away from Columbia gas & giving it to Eversource, says one news source.

https://www.masslive.com/news/boston/in ... dover.html


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:06 am 
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One of the articles I've read says someone(s) in *Ohio* ignored or did not see the pressure rise alarm right before the gas lines exploded, leaking easily-sparked gas in Andover, North Andover & Lawrence.

If the monitor(s) lived in those cities I think they'd pay better attention.

Yeah, its got to be a boring job, complete with false alarms. Which this one wasn't.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:13 pm 
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48 miles of pipe to be replaced before the area is safe.

I'm glad my Tewksbury friend is in a new development, because the immediate pipes into their house are newish.

Just because neighboring areas weren't blown out by Columbia Gas doesn't mean their pipes are good.

Latest thought is that regulatory device was on pipe taken out of service, so it registered that what it monitored was OK.


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