Dear Members and Supporters:
Below is the official statement of Sean Cota, President & CEO of NEFI on the tragic natural gas explosions that occurred in the City of Lawrence and towns of Andover and North Andover, Massachusetts:
“NEFI members and supporters across New England and the broader Northeast are devastated by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, especially the family and friends of the young man who lost his life in the incident. We praise the heroic efforts of first responders, law enforcement and area residents in dealing with this unprecedented crisis. NEFI has reached-out to our industry partners at the state, regional and national levels to offer our assistance as needed.
“State and federal authorities have begun their investigation into the cause of the incident. However, as Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said, culpability will come in time. Right now we should focus on the safety of the communities affected by this horrible, yet very likely preventable, natural gas incident.”
NEFI believes the need to reinforce public safety extends to heating oil and propane customers. We recommend that heating oil retailers communicate that such an event would never happen to their customers. They should be reminded that heating oil, whether conventional or biofuel-blended, is an extremely safe fuel and at no risk of causing an explosion.
Propane is safe when proper measures are taken. Our partners at the Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE) have given us permission to send the following information on propane safety when a gas leak is suspected or confirmed:
- NO FLAMES OR SPARKS. Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.
- LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY. Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
- SHUT OFF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
- REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor's home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can't reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
- DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
- GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.
Bottom line is that today’s Main Street energy providers offer heating oil, propane and other fuels that are well-regulated and always prioritize the safety and security of their facilities and customers.
For businesses in Massachusetts that were affected, or would like to inquire about how they can support efforts, contact MEMA at 781-365-0844. Click here to read MEMA's press release.