Utility settles with family hurt in natural gas explosions

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — The utility company blamed for September’s natural gas explosions in Massachusetts has settled a negligence lawsuit from a family injured in the disaster.

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and the Figueroa family didn’t disclose the settlement amount Tuesday but say it includes providing a motorized wheelchair, a mobility van and modifications to the family’s Lawrence home.

Twenty-one-year-old Shakira Figueroa was severely injured and two family members were hurt. A family friend, 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, died when the home’s chimney fell on his SUV.

Family lawyer Socrates De La Cruz says that the settlement is “an important step” toward healing but that the family will never be the same.

Joe Hamrock is head of NiSource, Columbia Gas’ parent company. He says “our hearts go out” to the family and the community.

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