Gas company pleads guilty after deadly explosions

Massachusetts News

BOSTON (NEWS10) — The Massachusetts energy company being held responsible for the deadly gas explosions in 2018 pleaded guilty to federal charges Wednesday.

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts admitted to violating the Pipeline Safety Act. As part of the plea deal, the company has agreed to pay a $52 million fine.

The gas explosions and fires in Eastern Massachusetts killed a teenager, injured several others, and damaged more than 100 homes.

“No amount of money can make up for the disastrous gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley,” FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Joe Bonavolonta said. “That level of homes, displaced thousands of families and caused a heartbreaking loss of life. But today’s settlement is a sobering reminder that if you decide to put profits before public safety, you will pay the consequences.”

State officials said Columbia Gas failed to follow certain safety procedures, and the explosions happened when high pressure natural gas was released into a low pressure gas distribution center.

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