The space heaters and hot plates distributed to Columbia Gas customers in Merrimack Valley present serious fire and safety issues. We urge residents using these devices for heat and cooking to follow these important safety tips:
Space Heater Safety
- Do not plug into extension cords or power strips.
- Use on a level surface.
- Keep at least 3 feet away from furniture, bedding and other flammable materials.
- Keep children well away from space heaters.
- If it blows a fuse or trips the breaker, stop using it immediately.
- When you leave your house, consider locking your space heater up in a room which children cannot reach. Make sure it is unplugged.
Hot Plate Safety Tips
- Use hot plates on a steady countertop. Keep a 1-foot circle of safety around your hot plate.
- Do not leave pots or pans on the hot plate.
- Stand with the hot plate while you are cooking.
- Keep children away from any cooking device.
- Always turn your hot plate off.
Over the next few months, remember to test your smoke alarm batteries a few times each week. You can set up an alarm on your cell phone to help you remember.
Learn Your Legal Rights – Call 800-379-1244
Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, is assisting residents and businesses affected by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions on Sept. 13. Many residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover will be recovering for a long time.
We are assisting residents who suffered physical injuries, emotional distress and those facing the prospect of several months without gas service. Because of the uncertainty about gas service, it is important to learn your legal rights now.
If you have lost your gas service, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation from Columbia Gas, beyond what the gas company or a community fund may offer. Do not sign any paperwork accepting a payment without first speaking to a lawyer who is experienced in investigating home fires and gas explosions involving utilities. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our lawyers are here to listen to your personal experience and really work to help you. Read about our past work.
Learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
We just learned that it may take “several months” for Columbia Gas to restore gas services to 8600 families and businesses in the Merrimack Valley. This is chilling news for every Columbia Gas customer, including homeowners, tenants and businesses.
Every Columbia Gas customer who will be without natural gas for hot water, heat, or cooking will be seriously affected. How are families going to live in their homes and apartments without hot water for showers and bathing? How will people endure the long winter without heat? Even if you or your home did not have property damage, you may have a legitimate claim for compensation.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
If you are a customer of Columbia Gas facing these hardships, you need to know your rights. You may be entitled to be compensated for the interference with your use and enjoyment of your property as a result of the loss of your gas service. This is true for property owners, business owners, and tenants. Anyone who lives in a home or apartment that is without gas for heat, hot water, or cooking has a potential claim. Every business customer of Columbia Gas will be hurt. Given the uncertainty about how long gas service will be interrupted, it is important that you know your rights. This type of claim is recognized by the law of Massachusetts.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
We are here to assist and advise you about your rights. We are Boston-based lawyers who have represented Massachusetts families and businesses that have been affected by gas explosions and fires for over 25 years. Feel free to call us for a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244. You can also use our contact form.
If you were ordered to evacuate your home or business because of the recent Columbia Gas leak and explosions, you may have a right to compensation for the costs associated with your displacement. If you have returned to a home or business that has had the gas service shut off, you may also be entitled to money damages for interference with the full use and enjoyment of your property. This is what is called “nuisance” damages. Whether you own or rent, if you are living in a home or apartment with no gas, no hot water or no fuel for operating basic appliances, you have the right to bring a claim for compensation.
Thousands of customers of Columbia Gas have been so affected. Homeowners, tenants and business owners have the right to file these claims. We urge you to consult with an experienced lawyer before you sign off on any payments by Columbia Gas or any of the funds established to assist fire and explosion victims. Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 100 combined years of experience helping families who have been injured or displaced due to fires and explosions. We have also represented many seriously injured individuals in home fires and explosions.
As an example, Breakstone, White & Gluck successfully recovered $7.5 million for the family of William (“Billy”) Nichols in a wrongful death lawsuit. Mr. Nichols was an electrician, working in a new construction home when it exploded due to leaking propane gas. He suffered under burning embers for one hour before he died of his injuries. Our attorneys aggressively litigated the case which resulted in a recovery for the family.
Watch this video of Scott Nichols who talks about his experience being represented by our firm.
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed by The Boston Business Journal about the Merrimack Valley home explosions. Attorney Breakstone roughly estimated there are $100 million in legal liabilities related to the natural gas explosions, which devastated entire neighborhoods in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover last week. His early estimate was based in part on a preliminary assessment of home values in the area.
Attorney Breakstone is a Boston personal injury lawyer, with over 35 years of experience representing those who have been injured by negligence. He is experienced at representing those injured in construction accidents and home gas explosions.
If your family has been affected by the Columbia Gas explosions or fires, Breakstone, White & Gluck can assist you. Please call us at 800-379-1244 for a free legal consultation.
In the summer of 2010, one of our clients died after a propane gas explosion in the Norfolk, Massachusetts condominium where he was working. Our client was trapped for more than 90 minutes before he was rescued. He died the next day.
We later learned our client had no warning there was a propane gas leak. The chemical odorant added to emit a “rotten eggs” smell had faded. Attorney Breakstone filed a wrongful death lawsuit against EnergyUSA and Smolinsky Brothers Plumbing and Heating, alleging EnergyUSA was negligent and had under-filled a new propane tank. He later negotiated a $7.5 million settlement with the defendants in 2012.
The Norfolk explosion raised awareness of the dangers caused when companies are negligent in handling propane gas. In Massachusetts, state officials warned consumers to check recent propane deliveries. In July 2013, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a national safety alert warning the public about the risks of under-odorization.