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Assistance for Merrimack Valley Residents

Was your home damaged or were you forced to evacuate by the gas explosions and fires in Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover on 9/13/18? Here is some helpful information.

Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund The fund began accepting applications on 10/3/18 for financial aid from Merrimack Valley residents affected by last month's gas explosions and fires, with about $10.85 million to be distributed. The fund was launched to provide short-term assistance for things like shelter, food and health services until the planned 11/19/18 restoration of service. Affected residents can apply for assistance from the fund online at, by phone by dialing 2-1-1 or in person at one of three drop-in application centers: Old Town Hall, 20 Main St., Andover; Relief's In, 1 Market St., Lawrence; and First and Main Plaza, 115 Main St., North Andover. All applicants will be notified of their application status within 3-5 business days. For more information and for walk-in application center hours, visit .

Resources for Merrimack Valley Residents (food, showers, etc) click here

Returning Home
When you return home, do not turn the gas back on if it has been shut off. Call Columbia Gas at 1-800-688-6160 to turn your gas back on. Do not enter your home unless you are accompanied by a gas company. 

Do not return home even if on the cleared list if you smell gas at your residence. Evacuate to a safe area and call 911 immediately. 

Property Damage
Call the Columbia Gas Property Claims Helpline 1-800-590-5571 if your property is damaged. You can also visit their Property Claims Center at the Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence Ave, Lawrence, MA 01841 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekdays.

Other Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Contacts

Expenses for Hotel/Food While Evacuated
Columbia Gas will reimburse displaced residents for reasonable accommodations until it was safe to return home. You can request reimbursement by contacting their Property Claims Helpline at 1-800-590-5571. Keep track of your receipts and expenses so you can be reimbursed.

Other assistance for individuals and homeowners is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Here is a helpful article: Tips After a Disaster.

Local contact information:

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)  
400 Worcester Road

Framingham, Massachusetts 01702-5399
(508) 820-2000
(508) 820-2030 FAX

Medical Care/Shelter for Animals

MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen has staff to help people with pets that require overnight shelter. People can call 978-687-7453, Nevins Farm, 400 Broadway, Methuen, MA 01844. Donations accepted at MSPCA website.

Anyone who needs free emergency shelter or care for their animal that may have been injured in a fire can go to the MSCPA’s Angell Animal Medical Center - Boston, 350 S. Huntington Avenue, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, 617-522-7282. 

How to help?

American Red Cross

The best way you can help is by donating: 1-800-RED-CROSS or


For more information or to discuss housing concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.



This content was last modified on: 10/03/2018

Partners EAP is not a service for the general public.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

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