Foundation being set up for victims of gas explosions

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — A relief fund will be established to help Massachusetts residents whose lives were disrupted by a series of natural gas fires and explosions.

The announcement was made Monday by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and leaders of the three affected communities. Baker says the hope is to have the foundation running by the end of the week.

The foundation will be in addition to the payments from Columbia Gas, the utility that serves Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, and payouts from insurance companies.

Meanwhile, Columbia Gas continued to process claims and hand out gift cards to address the immediate needs of residents, such as groceries.

A company spokeswoman says that 500 claims were processed Sunday and that 750 more are expected Monday.

One person died and about 25 were injured in the explosions last week.

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