Hotplates, heaters to be given residents after gas disaster

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Hotplates for cooking and space heaters for warmth will be distributed to thousands of Massachusetts residents left without natural gas following a series of explosions and fires.

Utility officials, meanwhile, pledged Friday to restore natural gas service by Nov. 19 as they replace 48 miles of natural gas pipeline. The Sept. 13 disaster killed one person, injured some 25 others and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and businesses.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says he’s activated the National Guard to help distribute hotplates to residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover starting Saturday.

Space heaters will be available starting Wednesday, with electricians sent to homes to assure the devices are installed safely.

Baker also announced that retired U.S. Navy Capt. Joe Albanese would serve as chief recovery officer for the restoration project.

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