Norwich — Norwich Public Utilities has announced that 13 employees are heading to Massachusetts as part of a mutual aid effort in the wake of natural gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, Mass., on Thursday night.
The employees "will be part of an extensive effort going door to door to shut off services and inspect homes and businesses for natural gas leaks," according to a news release from NPU.
"NPU is ready and willing to respond to this unprecedented event in Massachusetts, sending a number of our talented personnel to assist with this critical work," John Bilda, general manager of NPU, said in a statement. "NPU's track record of helping those in need — whenever and wherever we can — is a source of great pride for the men and women of our organization."
According to the news release, Columbia Gas in Massachusetts reported on Friday morning that more than 5,000 meters still needed to be shut off and inspected. Columbia Gas has asked for assistance from 500 workers and 25 supervisors from other companies. The Northeast Gas Association is organizing the effort.
NPU said it expects to assist through the weekend.
"Once all of the natural gas services have been shut off and inspected, the process of purging the system and reconnecting customers can begin, work that can only take place once the safety of the natural gas system in all three communities can be assured," the release states.
Information on natural gas safety is available online at bit.ly/NPUsafety.