Utility settles with family hurt in natural gas explosions

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Gas Explosions_1537564365797

Fire investigators pause while searching the debris at a home which exploded last week following a gas line failure in Lawrence, Mass., Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Nearly 9,000 homes and businesses may be without gas for weeks as investigators continue to probe what set off the explosions.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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